More than two years after an infant girl was found unresponsive in her parents’ Seattle apartment, her 40-year-old father has been charged with second-degree murder, accused of giving the baby a powerful sedative, according to King County prosecutors.
Daniel McCraw was booked Monday into the King County Jail, where he remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail, jail and court records show. He is to be arraigned Nov. 15. Court records do not yet indicate which attorney is representing him.
The second-degree murder charge alleges the baby’s death occurred during the commission of an assault or an attempted assault, with prosecutors further characterizing the death as a crime of domestic violence against a particularly vulnerable victim, according to charging documents. McCraw was also charged with first-degree manslaughter, a lesser crime that alleges he recklessly caused the baby’s death, also against a vulnerable victim and family member.
A man called 911 on Aug. 10, 2019, and reported that he’d been assaulted by his neighbor, who was holding his crying baby at the time, charging papers say.
Seattle police responded to an apartment building in the 300 block of Fourth Avenue South and tried to contact the neighbor, who by then had gone back inside his unit with his 2-month-old daughter. Police contacted the baby’s mother at work, who then headed home and opened the apartment door for officers, say the charges.
The baby, who is identified in charging documents by her initials, S.M., wasn’t breathing when she was found facedown on a bed and an officer ran her outside to be treated by medics. She died soon after arriving at Harborview Medical Center.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the baby died from acute ketamine intoxication but because the source of the drug was unknown at the time, her manner of death was initially ruled undetermined, the charges say.
Ketamine is a strong sedative sometimes used by medical personnel to alleviate extreme pain. But after police determined that no one had administered ketamine to the baby as part of her emergency medical treatment, the medical examiner in September changed the manner of death to homicide, according to the charges.
On the night of the baby’s death, McCraw “had exclusive control of the child” while her mother was at work and “the child was given ketamine during this time period,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Benjamin Santos wrote in charging papers.