Abused infant dies, father charged in death

By: NewsCenter 16 staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 staff Email

SOUTH BEND A 4-month-old girl died Saturday morning, investigators say because of injuries inflicted by her father.

Thursday afternoon, police were called to the child's home in the 1400 block of E Dubail Street in South Bend. They were responding to reports that the child, Halo Stutzman, wasn't breathing.

Halo was unconscious when paramedics arrived. They revived her with CPR, and she was put on life support at Memorial Hospital.

At the hospital, medical personnel found the child had skull fractures, massive brain injury, bleeding behind the eyes, and bruising on her body. Halo died at 10a.m. Saturday morning. Medical personnel say her death was caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain. An official autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Halo's parents, Dominique Stutzman and Bryan Michel, live together with three children. Halo was the youngest. The oldest is 4 years old. Stutzman works in the evening while Michel watches the children.

Michel, initially told investigators their other child had dropped Halo on the floor Wednesday evening, causing injury. Stutzman says when she returned home from work early Thursday morning, Halo was asleep. Stutzman noticed the next day that Halo was not acting like herself, so she called 911.

After being confronted by police, Michel changed his story. Instead, he told them he slipped as he was lifting Halo out of the bathtub and fell on top of her. He says he lied because he was afraid.

At this time, medical personnel cannot rule if Halo's injuries are consistent with Michel's story. Michel is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a level one felony. He is being held in the St. Joseph County Jail on $1 million bond.

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