A distraught father has been released from jail nearly six months after he was wrongly accused of murdering his baby daughter.
Shamus Patrick King, 23, of North Carolina, was arrested and charged with murder in September 2017 after police said Mr King’s baby, Harper, suffered injuries consistent with child abuse leading to her death.
Mr King told WFMY News 2 he found his little girl “stiff and tense” after hearing her cry for help in her sleep. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head and Harper’s dad frantically called for help but she later died in hospital. He was the only one with Harper at the time.
Investigators believed Mr King was responsible for her death and arrested him.
Harper’s aunt Michelle Robertazzi told Fox 8 after the 23-year-old’s arrest she would “never forgive him” and hoped he would spend the rest of his life in jail.
Mr King was in jail for 158 days but last week was released after the charges were dropped.
A pathologist found Mr King wasn’t responsible for the 11-week-old’s death.
Randolph County District Attorney Andy Gregson told the Courier-Tribune testing of Harper’s bone marrow and other tissues by pathologist Dr Anna McDonald found the little girl hadn’t been killed by “shaken baby syndrome, or blunt force trauma”. Harper had a rare condition, which caused blood cloths to travel to her heart and brain which ultimately led to her death.
Dr McDonald described Harper’s illness as rare.
Mr Gregson added he’s “never seen a case like this” and doubts Dr McDonald has either.
The details regarding Harper’s death came to light in March, but Mr King’s lawyer said issues with the department of social services were only recently resolved.
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Mr King added people still thought he murdered his daughter, even after the medical findings emerged.
“They’re going to think it until the day I die,” he said.
The 23-year-old said he “could never hurt” his little girl and to be accused of killing her broke his heart.
“They say time heals, but time definitely doesn’t heal,” he said.
“I just miss her more. Everything I do, everything just reminds me of her.”
Harper was Mr King’s only child and he wears a locket containing her ashes around his neck.
He plans to move from North Carolina to New England to be with family as he continues to grieve his daughter’s death.