A South Carolina man was charged in connection with the death of his one-year-old daughter whose body was found in a charred car that he had abandoned during a police chase Friday.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol said officers tried to pull over 26-year-old Imhotep Osiris Norman for speeding. However, the driver did not stop the car and continued onto Interstate 85. Troopers chased the man, during which time they noticed smoke and sparks coming from the car. A while later, the car caught fire and Norman jumped out of the vehicle and ran away.
The troopers alerted the fire department, who arrived at the scene and extinguished the fire. That was when they found the body of a baby in the backseat of the car. The infant was later identified as Xena Rah'Lah Norman, the suspect's daughter.
Police tracked down Norman and arrested him Friday evening. Capt. Kelley Hughes of the South Carolina Highway Patrol said a bag containing illegal drugs was thrown from the car during the chase.
At a court hearing Saturday, Norman said his vehicle was out of control and was not on fire when he jumped out.
"It was going by itself. I couldn't hit the gas or the brakes or anything anymore. When I hit the brakes in it, I just kept going the same amount of speed," Norman told a judge, Fox News reported.
"I just know that the car wasn't on fire when I got out the car," he said, adding "If I couldn't get my daughter out of that car I wouldn't have got out."
Voicing her support for Norman, his mother said, "My son loved his daughter and would have never let this happen. He loved her so much. He loved her so much," the Spartanburg Herald-Journal reported.
Xena's maternal grandmother was also present for the hearing, and addressing the courtroom, she said, "He would have died for her. I don't believe what they are saying. He would have saved his baby."
Norman was charged with one count of homicide by child abuse Saturday and denied bond. He was held at the Spartanburg County Detention Center and could face additional charges. Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page was started to cover the child's funeral expenses.
This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.