Police in Philadelphia, United States arrested Austin Stevens for sexually assaulting his 10-month-old daughter Zara Scruggs on Saturday, October 3. The man reportedly raped and beat the child, leaving her unresponsive. Almost an hour after the attack, emergency services were alerted. The infant was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. The father faces multiple charges for the death of the child.

At around 10:40 pm, emergency services responded to a 911 call to an apartment in Lower Providence Township, Pennsylvania. Police arrived to find an unresponsive infant in the home. An ambulance took the child to Einstein Medical Centre in Montgomery County. Shortly after 12 am on Sunday, October 4, the child was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Initial post mortem report of the child's body revealed that Scruggs had blunt force trauma to the head and she had been sexually assaulted. Additional forensic reports are being awaited to reveal the cause of death.

According to CBS Philly, the paramedics who took the child to the hospital handed the authorities a blood-soaked diaper which Scruggs was wearing. Police arrested Stevens for the rape of a child, aggravated assault and other related charges.

The assistant youth football coach for Lower Providence Warriors reportedly had a custody agreement with the mother of the child. It is believed that the man raped and beat the child until she stopped breathing.

After realising that the baby had stopped breathing the father did not immediately call emergency services. The search history on the man's phone revealed that he had looked up "how do you know if a baby is dead," "if baby stops breathing," "what if you don't hear baby heart or beat," and "my baby isn't breathing." Eventually, he called emergency services but it was too late to save the child.

Since the incident, a murder investigation had been launched. The 29-year-old is being held at Montgomery County Correctional Facility on $1m (£772k) bail. He could be charged with further offences. The investigation continues.

10-month-old baby raped and beaten to death by her father. (representational image) Flickr