Local News

Man denies harming 2-year-old who died

Posted February 9, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
Updated September 10, 2010 3:45 p.m. EDT

— The Durham man charged with sexually assaulting a 2-year-old girl who died said Wednesday he didn't harm the child.

Derrick Michael Allen, 19, said in a police interview that he wasn't the type of person who would hurt a little girl, or any child for that matter. The Durham district attorney is waiting on autopsy results before deciding whether to file additional charges.

Paramedics were called to the family's apartment on Garrett Street in South Durham on Monday afternoon, when they found the child's lifeless body.

The little girl was pronounced dead a short time later at Duke Medical Center.

Allen, of 613 Raynor St., is charged with a felony count of statutory sexual assault on a child under 13. He's being held in the Durham County jail, with bond set at $250,000. Allen is not the child's father.

Allen told The News & Observer that the little girl had been sick with a fever for more than a week.

Allen's mother, LaVerne Valadez, says she doesn't think it is possible that her son committed the crime with which he is charged.

Valadez says she does feel great sympathy for the baby's mother.

A family member told WRAL News that Allen was not alone in the apartment with the child when she died, but investigators have not said if they are looking for that person.

Police said that Allen was baby-sitting the girl at the Wellington Place apartments about 2:30 p.m. Monday when someone called 9-1-1 to report a 2-year-old child was having breathing problems. Within a few minutes, a second call was placed, reporting that the child was in serious condition. Paramedics tried for more than 30 minutes to save the girl.