Walker infant’s father charged in her death

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A 23-year-old man faces a count of manslaughter after police say he admitted becoming frustrated with his inconsolable 4-week-old daughter and placing his hand over her mouth to prevent her from crying.

The child died Tuesday after being taken off life support at a local hospital, Walker police Capt. John Sharp said Thursday.

Franklin D. Finney was arrested Wednesday and remains in the Livingston Parish Detention Center in lieu of $75,000 bail, Sharp said.

The child’s mother, Kayla Depoy, 22, found the girl unresponsive in her crib April 19 at the couple’s home on Ball Park Road and called 911, Sharp said.

When attempts to resuscitate the baby were unsuccessful, she was taken to the hospital where she was admitted in critical condition and placed on life support. Over the next three weeks, the child displayed a lack of brain activity and her condition worsened, Sharp said.

Medical personnel were unable to determine why the child had stopped breathing, Sharp said.

“Medical records indicate that the baby was closely examined and that a number of tests were performed in order to identify any previously undiagnosed medical conditions or any signs of trauma or abuse which might have caused respiratory failure,” Sharp said.

No signs of trauma, medical conditions or indicators of wrongdoing were found, he said.

Because of the unusual circumstances, the Office of Child Services was notified of the baby’s admittance to the hospital and interviewed both Depoy and Finney, Sharp said.

OCS and hospital officials called Walker police on May 10, after Depoy and another family member expressed concern to medical personnel that Finney may have caused the child’s condition, Sharp said.

“As time passed without identification of the cause of the baby’s condition, and as it became apparent that she was unlikely to survive, consideration of previous events caused the infant’s mother and other family members to question whether Mr. Finney might be responsible for the child’s respiratory failure,” Sharp said.

Finney had been seen on a previous occasion placing his hand over the baby’s mouth when she was crying, Sharp said.

Walker police on Wednesday interviewed Finney, who initially denied doing anything that would have harmed the baby, Sharp said.

After further questioning, Finney told detectives that while attempting to put the baby down for a nap, he became frustrated at his inability to console the crying child, Sharp said.

Finney told police he placed his hand over the baby’s mouth to stop her from crying and did not realize she had stopped breathing until Depoy entered the room and found the girl unresponsive, Sharp said.

Walker detectives spoke with the Livingston Parish District Attorney’s Office to discuss charging Finney in the death of his daughter, then prepared a warrant for his arrest.