East St. Louis father charged in abuse of daughter

News-DemocratAugust 2, 2013 

— The father of an infant girl who sustained more than 20 fractures and other injuries was charged Friday with aggravated battery to a child, St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said.

Latajhia Millender, 24, of East St. Louis, was charged after he was questioned by investigators.

The 5-month-old girl was in stable condition Friday at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis.

Police Chief Michael Floore said during a news conference Thursday afternoon that doctors told the investigating officer, Sgt. Gilda Johnson, that the baby sustained injuries to her skull, left eye and brain. He said the infant had old and new injuries.

On Wednesday night, police investigators were called by hospital officials at Cardinal Glennon after doctors determined the baby had suffered physical abuse by someone.

Floore didn't say how the injuries occurred. He said he could not talk about details because the police were still investigating the matter. But, he said it was clear that the child had been "severely abused."

The child's mother, who police believe is homeless, went to the residence where the father was keeping the child in the John DeShields public housing complex at 1235 McCasland Ave. and noticed she was not acting right. She took the girl to the hospital.

The county's child-death investigation team had been activated in case the baby doesn't survive, Floore said.

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.