A Tulsa man arrested on a child abuse complaint earlier this month will be charged with child abuse murder after the baby died over the weekend.
Police said Martrell Thames, 23, was arrested after they responded to reports of a non-responsive two-month-old girl on November 8, 2019.
Tulsa Police interviewed Matrell for several hours, and said he stuck to the same story. He told investigators he laid his baby down for a few minutes while using the restroom, and when he came back, she wasn't breathing.
"As ridiculous as that is, he had no explanation for where all of these injuries came from or how this child sustained all these injuries. He did admit that he was the only one caring for her,” Sgt. Mark Kraft with the Child Crisis Unit said.
Kraft said two-month-old Aleeyah Thames was in a coma and was on life support until Friday night. He said she had significant trauma, brain bleeds, along with new and old fractured ribs.
"Everything was done to try to help this child but the damage to the brain was just too significant,” Kraft said.
Police said Aleeyah's mother left the baby at home with Martrell when she went to the store earlier this month. When she got back to the apartment near 91st and Delaware, she found EMSA trying to help her daughter.
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“Parenting is hard. It's very stressful. There's no handbook, of course,” Child Abuse Network President and CEO Maura Guten said.
Guten said cases like this can be avoided.
"Understand that you can put your baby down some place safe and go take a deep breath instead of taking it out on the baby,” Guten said.
Tulsa Police and the Child Abuse Network want parents to understand there are resources that can help families who may be at risk of child abuse, like the Parent Child Center of Tulsa and Family and Children Services. Counseling and Recovery Services of Oklahoma also helps families.
“Parents just need to know that you're not alone and that there are resources out there,” Kraft said.
In Oklahoma, everyone is required by law to report child abuse and neglect, so if you know of a child who needs help, there is a hotline number you can call. It's 1 (800) 522-3511.
EMSA transported the infant to the hospital where doctors found she suffered severe closed head injuries, as well as injury to the torso.