Saturday, May 29, 1999

Year later,
man admits to
killing his baby

No foul play was suspected
in the Pearl Harbor case

By Jaymes K. Song


A 26-year-old Pearl Harbor man is in custody today after admitting he killed his 3-month-old daughter more than a year ago, police said.

On May 10, 1998, the girl was taken to St. Francis Medical Center-West after the parents said they found her unresponsive at their Pearl Harbor home.

The case was initially classified an "unattended death," meaning there were no visible signs of foul play. Following an autopsy last year, no foul play was suspected, police said.

The autopsy did not reveal any injuries, and the cause of death was listed as "sudden and unknown," according to a police report. The sailor told Navy investigators last week that he caused his daughter's death, police said.

According to the Navy, the daughter was allegedly suffocated.

But the Navy would not confirm nor give any details of a confession.

The sailor was booked for murder but has not been charged.

"When these things happen, the military aggressively pursues these things and holds people accountable," Pearl Harbor spokes-man Lt. Cmdr. Rod Gibbons said.

The killing is the fourth on Oahu involving military dependents since September 1997. All suspects have been parents in their 20s. All four victims have been girls younger than age 2.

Previous cases include:

Bullet Carl Branch, 23, indicted last year on the charge of murdering his 2-month-old daughter at their Schofield Barracks home in January 1998.

Bullet Renee Beth Smith, 22, sentenced in April to 17 years in prison for suffocating her 3-month-old daughter at their Pearl Harbor home in September 1997.

Bullet Tufono Fale, 23, sentenced in October to 20 years for kicking her 2-year-old daughter to death at their Wheeler Army Air Field home in September 1997.

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