On June 12, 19-year-old father Tyler Buchanan awoke to the sound of his 2-month-old daughter crying.
The Arkansas teen initially told police that he went to get her a bottle around 5:30 a.m. and went back to sleep, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.
He claimed that when he woke up later, baby Paisley was unresponsive. His first reaction was to cut an extension cord and unsuccessfully attempt to revive her by shocking her heart with the live wire.
He then alerted the baby’s mother, who contacted police. Paisley was declared dead at at Sparks Hospital in Van Buren a short time later.
It wasn’t until an investigation began that Buchanan admitted the 2-month-old had stopped breathing because he smothered her.
Buchanan told investigators that he pressed the baby’s face into his shoulder because she wouldn’t stop crying and knew that she would stop breathing.
Detective Jonathan Wear said the child was dead for hours before police were called. He told KFSM:
“The evidence is showing us that she was actually smothered sometime during the middle of the night.”
The 19-year-old was arrested and charged with capital murder, meaning he could potentially face the death penalty or life in prison for his crime if convicted.
Neighbors of the teen said the crime seemed out of character. Tricia Dewberry told KFSM:
“He loved the baby, he did talk…and he said the baby was a gifted baby an advanced baby, he showed the baby off and let me play and hold the baby.”
Buchanan is currently being held in Crawford County jail on $1 million bond.
According to a study by Forensic Science International, roughly 500 children are killed by their parents each year in the United States. One third of those children are under the age of one.