| Crime |

Chandler Dad Accused of Murdering 7-Month-Old Daughter. Tells Police He "Hit Her Really, Really Hard"

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"I hit her really, really hard."

That's what a Chandler dad told police about his 7-month-old daughter, who died at an area hospital this morning after suffering a skull fracture likely caused by her father, 21-year-old Sergio Thomas.

According to court documents obtained by New Times, about 8 a.m. yesterday, Chandler police responded to a call that a 7-month-old girl was unresponsive in her home at 1231 West Whitten Street in Chandler.

The girl was taken to Phoenix Children's Hospital, where it was determined she had a bi-lateral skull fracture, subdural brain bleeding, and bi-lateral retinal hemorrhages.

Police interviewed both Thomas and the girl's mother and discovered the two were separated but had joint custody of the girl, which they shared on various days of the week.

At the time she sustained the injuries, the girl was in the lone care of Thomas.

Police asked him what happened and he claimed he had no idea -- he said he woke to the sound of his sister screaming because the baby was found unresponsive in her crib. 

When pressed by police, Thomas copped to what really happened.

Thomas told police he was frustrated because the girl had woken him up in the middle of the night. He told police he put her in her crib about 9 p.m. Sunday night. By 11 p.m., the baby woke up and started crying.

He told police, the baby's crying fueled his anger issues, so he went into her room, yanked her out of the crib by her arm, and brought him into his room, where she fell asleep in his arms.

About 3 a.m., the baby woke up again -- and again, Thomas was furious.

He told police he pulled his arm out from under the baby, which caused her to fly off the bed and hit her head on a wall.

Again, yanking her by the arm, Thomas moved the girl from his bed to her crib, where he gave her a bottle and changed her diaper. But the baby wouldn't stop crying and Thomas shook her violently to get her to stop.

Then he threw her with "force" into the crib. As the baby continued to cry, Thomas says, he "hit her really, really hard" -- with about 80 percent of his strength, he says -- in the back of the head.

He hit her on the back of the head two or three more times before slapping her in the face several times, and went back to bed -- the baby still crying in her crib.

She died about 7 a.m. today.

Thomas is currently on release for an August domestic violence arrest, in which the girl and her mother were both injured.

He's been booked on two counts of child abuse, and one count of first-degree murder.

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