Salt Lake man charged with killing girlfriend's child

Salt Lake man charged with killing girlfriend's child

(Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office)

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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Criminal charges were filed Monday against a Salt Lake man in the death of his then-girlfriend's young daughter.

Jake Don Jensen, 29, is charged in 3rd District Court with child abuse homicide, a first-degree felony, and child abuse, a second-degree felony.

In January of 2016, emergency crews were called to a Cottonwood Heights home, 6956 S. Virginia Hills Dr., where a 19-month-old girl was having a seizure. The young girl lived with her mother, Jensen, and Jensen's mother. When crews arrived, the seizure had stopped. The girl's mother and her boyfriend, Jensen, declined to have the baby — identified in court records as S.M. — transported to the hospital but promised to see a doctor in the coming days, charging documents state.

But the couple never did that, police say. Two days later, the child had another seizure and was taken to the hospital early the next morning, but she "never regained consciousness," according to the charges.

After her death, doctors discovered both of S.M.'s legs had been broken and were in various stages of healing, though the broken bones were never reported, the charges state.

A team at Primary Children's Hospital examined the girl's body and determined her injuries were "most consistent with severe child physical abuse, given the lack of any other adequate explanation for either her broken legs or the head and eye injuries," according to charging documents.

Doctors say the baby would have been in pain "for at least some time," but the couple never reported it, the court documents state.

During both incidents, Jensen was at home taking care of S.M. while her mother, Stephanie Mahaffey Jensen, worked. Because he could not explain the baby's injuries, and his account of what happened the morning the girl died was different from the mother's, doctors suspected child abuse, the charges state.

The final autopsy report, finalized in January, listed the cause of death as homicide because no explanation had been offered for the subdural hemorrhages the child suffered which were likely caused two to three days before her death, according to court documents, and triggered the seizures.

Jake and Stephanie Jensen were married after the girl's death and recently had another child together, according to social media posts. On social media, the girl who died was identified as Sophie. No charges have been filed against the mother as of Monday.

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