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Father charged with homicide in West York baby's 2015 death

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Jeremiah Monte

A former West York man is being committed to York County Prison, charged with homicide in the 2015 death of his 10-month-old son.

Jeremiah William Monte, 26, now of the 200 block of Lena Drive in Jackson Township, was arraigned Wednesday morning at the county's central booking unit and denied bail, according to court records.

Kayden Monte died Aug. 3, 2015, at Hershey Medical Center after being taken off life support. He suffered a skull fracture with internal bleeding to the back of his head, according to records from the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families.

That office conducted its own investigation and in March 2016 determined Kayden died of physical abuse, according to CYF records.

Charging documents filed Wednesday by West York Police Detective David Kahley allege Jeremiah Monte was the only person who had access to Kayden during the time frame that the baby suffered his fatal head injuries.

Kayden's mother took him to York Hospital on July 31, 2015, after he became ill at their West York home on Sumner Street, and he was then flown by medical helicopter to Hershey Medical Center, police said.

Traumatic brain injury: The day after Kayden's death, forensic pathologist Dr. Wayne Ross performed an autopsy for the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office, which ruled Kayden's death a homicide, caused by traumatic brain injury.

"Ross concluded with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of the victim's death was a direct result of the victim receiving an impact or multiple impacts, which caused a skull fracture and brain swelling," charging documents state.

Jeremiah Monte

Ross' opinion is that Kayden's head "was slammed against a fixed solid surface," and that the child would have began to show immediate signs of "impairment," according to documents.

Both parents were interviewed the day after Kayden died.

His mother, Heather Martinez, said Kayden was acting normally on July 30, 2015, and that she left for work about 2:30 p.m. that day, police said.

She got home from work about midnight, and Kayden was already in bed, police said.

'Blank stare': Martinez was awakened a few hours later, about 3 or 3:30 a.m., after hearing Kayden whining, and found he'd vomited in his crib, documents state. Kayden kept vomiting about once an hour and was lethargic, police said.

"(H)is limbs were stiff and he had a blank stare," according to charging documents, so Martinez took him to the hospital.

Monte told police in 2015 that he was Kayden's primary caregiver after Martinez left for work and said the boy had  no accidents or falls, documents state.

According to Monte, his son was "perfectly fine and breathing; and perfectly healthy" when he went to bed, according to charging documents, which allege Monte's claims are inconsistent with the findings of the forensic autopsy.

Those documents state that investigators believe Kayden's injury happened around the time his father was bathing him.

"During a search of the residence, the defendant displayed abnormal behavior when (told) that the bathtub would be removed" as part of the investigation, charging documents allege.

'Fits of anger'? A search of Monte's cellphone showed that he'd deleted content from it before the day of Kayden's death, documents state.

"Through this investigation, this affiant learned that the defendant has previously acted out with aggressive undertones, punching objects during fits of anger," Kahley wrote in documents.

Monte was the last person with Kayden before the child began showing signs of injury, documents state.

It is unclear if Monte has retained an attorney.

In 2017, West York Police Chief Matt Millsaps told The York Dispatch that his department was continuing to work the case with the York County District Attorney's Office and predicted they would at some point be able to file charges.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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