A 30-year-old Logan man has been arrested and charged with aggravated murder in the death of a baby girl who was five days away from her first birthday.
The child was found dead in her crib at about 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 15, tightly swaddled in a blue blanket with obvious signs of trauma on her head, Logan City Police reported in an affidavit seeking the arrest of Kyle Gooch, the mother’s live-in boyfriend.
Gooch was booked into the Cache County Jail on Tuesday night.
According to the arrest warrant, Gooch was left with the care of three small children while their mother went to pick up some things for Christmas.
Gooch reportedly told police that the baby was “screaming hysterically” so he swaddled her in the blanket because that tends to calm her down. She was placed face-down in the crib and when he left the room that night, he said she had calmed down.
When the baby did not awaken as usual the following morning, police say it was Gooch who went to check on her and made the call to 911.
According to the arrest affidavit, an autopsy report was completed in April and showed 13 different blunt force injuries to the baby’s head, including numerous bruises and abrasions to her face, all of which are “consistent with inflicted pressure as might occur with smothering.”
Both parents were interviewed a second time in mid-June, following a domestic violence incident in their home that included an assault and what appears to be a failed suicide attempt on the same day.
According to court records, Gooch was arrested a few days later and charged with assault, criminal mischief, domestic violence in the presence of a child, and intoxication.
He pleaded guilty three weeks ago to assault, and all of the remaining charges in that case were dismissed. Sentencing in that case is scheduled for Aug. 19.
During the interviews in June, the baby’s mother reportedly told police that Gooch could be quite controlling and it was his practice to swaddle the baby and place her face down in the crib, telling her “You can’t hear (her) crying now.”
She later told police, in the presence of her attorney, that when she returned from her errand that night, Gooch was “intoxicated and distant,” and he encouraged her to drink heavily with him, the arrest affidavit states.
When Gooch was interviewed for the second time, police say he denied causing harm to the child.
Ironically, Gooch’s Facebook page is filled with photos of him enjoying time with children. His last public timeline post of Sept. 18, 2018, shows a baby with the words “The best thing in the world is seeing them smile because of you.”
Gooch has been charged in 1st District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony. If Gooch is convicted as charged, the judge has the discretion to sentence him to either 25 years to life in prison or life in prison without parole, the Cache County Attorney’s Office said on Wednesday.