A Florida man is facing first-degree murder charges on Thursday after police allege that he struck his six-month-old daughter in the head twice during a power outage caused by Hurricane Irma.
Dekari Castell, 22, was said to be stressed because there was no power or air conditioning at an abandoned home in Orlando where they were seeking shelter on September 13, according to WKMG-TV.
Castell told police that he grew more frustrated when his baby daughter, Kali Dream Castell, would not stop crying.
He allegedly struck Kali twice in the head, fracturing her skull.
The girl’s mother discovered her daughter unconscious and not breathing. She then called 911.
Dekari Castell (left), 22, faces first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse charges in the death of his six-month-old daughter, Kali Dream Castell (right)
Castell was denied bond by a judge during his appearance in an Orange County, Florida court on Wednesday
Castell told police that he grew more frustrated when his baby daughter would not stop crying during a power outage caused by Hurricane Irma that left the family with no air conditioning
He allegedly struck Kali twice in the head, fracturing her skull. The girl’s mother discovered her daughter unconscious and not breathing
Paramedics attempted to resuscitate the baby through CPR without success.
The toddler was rushed to Arnold Palmer Hospital and put on life support.
Hospital records indicate that the baby had suffered from bleeding in the brain as well as several skull fractures.
Doctors who examined the baby found that she had a depression on her skull, leading them to believe that she was hit.
The above photo shows the home where Castell and his family sought shelter during Hurricane Irma
Medical officials pronounced her dead the next morning.
Initially, Castell told detectives that he dropped the baby, causing her to fracture her skull.
But police grew suspicious given Castell’s history of alleged abuse against both his children and his wife.
Last year, Florida welfare services investigated Castell after his four-week-old son was admitted to the hospital with a broken femur bone.
Castell told authorities at the time that his son ‘squirmed out of his grasp and fell’ and that he caught the baby by his leg, causing the injury.
But doctors scanned the boy and discovered that the broken femur was likely caused by a violent blow.
Prosecutors, however, declined to bring charges against Castell due to a lack of evidence.
Police, suspecting that Kali died due to physical abuse, asked the girl’s mother to help extract ‘a truthful statement’ from Castell.
Castell told investigators that Kali ‘squirmed out of his grasp’ on Monday, well before the 911 call was placed to police on Wednesday.
Kali’s mother told investigators that Castell slapped her in the face on September 13 because she couldn’t open a window.
Kali’s mother told investigators that two hours after she was hit by Castell, she returned to the house and found her daughter unconscious.
Hurricane Irma left parts of Orlando flooded and without power. Storm clouds are seen over downtown Orlando on Sunday, September 10
Castell told her at the time that the baby started choking, according to authorities.
It was only during the third interview that Castell gave to police that he admitted punching his daughter’s head because he was ‘highly stressed’ from not having electricity and from not being able to get the baby to stop crying.
Castell told police that after he hit the baby twice, she became quiet.
At that point, he said he called the girl’s mother and asked her to come right away, though he did not tell her what happened.
‘Dekari called (her) two more times telling her to hurry, however, he did not call 911 or anyone else asking for help,’ detectives wrote in their arrest report.
Castell was arrested this past Monday. Prosecutors filed first-degree murder and child abuse charges on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, he appeared in court and was denied bond.