Local News

Infant choked on toilet paper, stepfather says in 911 call

Posted November 10, 2009 2:49 p.m. EST
Updated November 10, 2009 6:47 p.m. EST

— A Raleigh man accused of sexually abusing and murdering his 10-month-old stepdaughter told a 911 dispatcher that the child choked on toilet paper, according to a 911 recording released Tuesday. (Hear an excerpt from the 6-minute 911 call.)

Joshua Andrew Stepp, 26, of 1223 Silver Sage Drive, Apt. 303, was charged Monday with first-degree sex offense and first-degree murder in the death of Cheyenne Emery Yarley.

Police responded to the 911 call shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday at Stepp's home, and paramedics transported the infant to WakeMed, where doctors pronounced her dead.

"My baby just swallowed a thing of toilet paper, and she's not breathing," he said in the 911 call. "I'm trying to, like, resuscitate her right now. Her heart is beating, but she's not breathing."

The dispatcher then tries to keep Stepp calm and walks him through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and CPR until emergency help arrives.

During a first court appearance Tuesday afternoon, Wake County District Judge Craig Croom appointed Stepp an attorney and set another court date for Dec. 1.

Family members of Stepp declined to comment about the arrest.

Stepp remained in the Wake County Jail Tuesday afternoon on a $500,000 secured bond for the first-degree sex offense charge. The murder charge carries no bond.