A man who was charged with the murder of his girlfriend's one-year-old boy has been released after a key witness, said to be a doctor, did not turn up to court, reports say.

Dylon James Kirkpatrick, from Ramseur, North Carolina, was charged with the murder of Ryker Baker who tragically died on 10 February this year.

It was reported that as a judge could not find probable cause in the death when the key witness, a doctor, failed to show up to court, according to Robert Chabot with the Randolph County Sheriff's Office.

The 26-year-old, from Randolph County, was released from jail after: "Judge [Scott] Etheridge found no probable cause for the charges," Chabot said according to Fox 8 News, in North Carolina.

Police and paramedics were called to a home in the 4100 block of Bay Doe Street in Ramseur on 9 February following a 911 call after reports of an unresponsive infant.

Despite making desperate attempts to save the child's life and Baker being rushed to Randolph Hospital he died at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Brenner Children's Hospital the next day, according to a press release.

Initially Kirkpatrick was charged on the same day with felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury.

Kirkpatrick was charged with murder on 14 February with the child's death and his bail was set at $1m (£720,000).

But the defendant, and still the prime suspect in connection with the child's death, was released on Tuesday (6 March) according to police sources cited by WGHP-Channel 8.

But the constabulary have stated that the investigation is ongoing and they hope to indict Kirkpatrick when medical reports become available, which could take months.