Glendale police arrest man tied to 2016 death of 18-month-old girl

Austin Parker (MCSO)

A Surprise man has been arrested in connection to the 2016 death of an 18-month-old girl.

Glendale police report Austin Michael Eric Parker, 24, was booked into jail Thursday on charges of first-degree murder, sexual conduct with a minor and child abuse.

His arrest stems from an incident that occurred Sept. 4, 2016 near 59th and Northern avenues. On that date, Mr. Parker called 911 because an 18-month-old girl was not breathing. Authorities found the girl unresponsive and took her to the hospital. She was later pronounced dead.

Staff found signs of blunt force trauma, including in the rectal area. The girl also had bruising over her body and internal bleeding, according to court documents.

Mr. Parker was the sole caregiver of the girl at the time of the incident. He denied causing the rectal trauma and said the bruising to the girl’s head and abdomen were due to accidental falls. However, Mr. Parker had told police he squeezed the girl out of anger and may have leaned on her abdomen, causing trauma to the abdomen.

Despite his claims, medical officials believed some of the injuries — including internal ones — were beyond accidental.

Mr. Parker appears tied to the death due to his reported use of blunt force against the child, who was his girlfriend’s, records indicate.

A warrant had been filed days after the death, although it is not immediately known was to search the residence and/or to arrest Mr. Parker and/or his girlfriend.

“Upon receipt of the medical expert’s findings and review with a pediatric trauma surgeon of the non-accidental injuries, investigators with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and Glendale Police Department placed Austin Parker under arrest and booked him on the charge of homicide, child abuse and sexual misconduct with a minor,” Glendale police stated.

Judge Michelle Carson set Mr. Parker’s bond at $1 million. He is due in court May 22 and 24.

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