Father pleads not guilty in death of daughter

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- The father of a four month old baby who died over the weekend was arraigned in a St. Joseph County court Monday.

Bryan Michel, 22, pleaded not guilty to neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a level 1 felony.

On July 10, South Bend Police responded to the 1400 block of Dubail Street for a 4-month-old girl who was not breathing.

Medics resuscitated 4-month-old Halo Stutzman and took her to the hospital. She died on July 12.

County Metro Homicide and the Special Victims Unit began investigating.

Medical personnel told police Halo had a fractured skull, brain injury, bleeding behind the eyes and bruising on her body.

Michel told police two different stories about how Halo was injured. At first he said one of the other children pulled Halo onto the floor.

After being confronted with the extent of Halo's injuries, Michel said he lied because he was afraid he would get in trouble.

He then told police he had been giving Halo a bath, bent over to pick her up from the tub, slipped and fell on top of her. He said Halo's head was trapped between the ceramic tile of the tub and his body.

He then said he waited to seek medical attention for Halo because he was afraid, according to an affidavit.

The coroner completed the autopsy on Halo Monday. Her cause of death was determined to be cranial cerebral trauma and the manner of death is homicide.

An investigation is ongoing to determine if Halo's injuries are consistent or inconsistent with Michel's statement.

Michel was ordered not to have contact with Halo's mother, Dominique Stutzman.

Michel's next court date is July 22.

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