Parker father arrested for child abuse following death of 3-month-old daughter

PARKER, Colo. — The father of a 3-month-old child was arrested on child abuse charges after the death of his daughter, Aliah Howatt, in May.

Douglas County deputies arrested James Howatt, 26, at his Parker home without incident Wednesday. 

Howatt is facing a felony charge of child abuse resulting in death after a grand jury indictment in December.

The charge stems from an incident that occurred on May 10, 2017, when deputies responded to the 26-year-old father’s home to assist in a medical call.

Deputies arrived to find paramedics giving CPR to baby Aliah, who had stopped breathing. She was transported to a local hospital where she was later pronounced dead. 

Details as to what caused the child to stop breathing are not known. However, deputies allege Howatt is responsible for her death.

Forensic pathologist Dawn Holmes, who conducted the autopsy after the child's death, said that "positional asphyxia due to facedown prone positioning into the mattress cannot be definitely ruled out," adding that the manner of death was an accident, according to an indictment obtained by Denver7.

The indictment further states Howatt was getting ready to go to work after putting the baby face down on the bed for tummy time when he noticed the child was not breathing after returning to check on her some 20 minutes later.

It also states Dr. Stacy Ostapko, the pediatrician involved in the care of the 3-month-old told both Howatt and the child's mother that under no circumstances should a baby be left facing down while sleeping, and reportedly told them that "if you're going to get up, even for a minute to answer the phone or to go to sleep yourself, you have to put her back on her back." 

The suspect is currently being held at the Douglas County Detentions Center on a $25,000 bond.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that it took place in Parker, not Highlands Ranch.

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