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22-year-old Indian River County man charged with killing girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter

Autopsy reveals child had multiple injuries, sheriff's office says
Deshawn Marlo Clark
Posted at 1:46 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 18:19:30-04

VERO BEACH, Fla. — An Indian River County man faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of a 2-year-old girl that an autopsy revealed sustained multiple injuries and trauma.

Indian River County sheriff's deputies and emergency medical personnel were called Monday morning to a home, located in the 6900 block of 30th Square, after a 911 caller reported the incident.

EMS arrived at the home and took the child to Cleveland Clinic, but she was later pronounced dead.

The caller, Deshawn Clark, 22, was later identified as a suspect in the child's death, according to Lt. Thomas Raulen of the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

Clark is a live-in boyfriend of the victim's mother, Raulen said.

Investigators said Clark told deputies he found the child in the bathtub and started CPR until EMS arrived. However, this statement was contradicted by EMS, who said the child was dry and wearing a dry diaper.

An autopsy conducted Tuesday revealed the child had multiple injuries including:

  • Laceration on the left side of her head
  • Bruising on her chest
  • Linear marks on the back of her legs
  • Bruise on her left temple
  • Abrasion on her left hip
  • Bruise under her left eye
  • Additional bruising on her neck
  • Hemorrhaging on her hyoid bone
  • Blood in her abdomen
  • Laceration to her liver
  • Fractured ribs close to her spine
  • Swelling to her brain

The sheriff's office said an autopsy also revealed the injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma and not from someone attempting CPR.

Other injuries on and around the victim's neck were consistent with the child being intentionally choked, investigators said.

The sheriff's office said the death was classified as a homicide because of multiple injuries, trauma to the torso and asphyxiation.

After the autopsy, Raulen said Clark changed his statement to detectives several times, ultimately admitting to being untruthful about specific details, but denied knowledge of the trauma to the little girl.

Clark was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He is being held in the Indian River County Jail without bond.