Infant found with head bruising dies, Columbia man admits to kicking child

A Columbia man was charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and placed on a $500,00 bond. (KRCG 13)

A Columbia man was charged with endangering the welfare of a child after his infant daughter died Monday morning.

According to the Columbia Police Department, Cortavia Emon Smith, 20, had been in care of his six-month-old daughter when the infant went into cardiac arrest. Officers responded to the Break Time Convenience Store in the 100 block of East Nifong Boulevard, where the mother of the child works, according to court documents.

EMS crews took the child to Women's and Children's hospital where she was pronounced dead. Police said the infant had bruising to her upper torso and head.

Smith told detectives in an interview he had kicked the infant accidentally. Smith, who was at a residence in the 200 block of Switzler Street, drove the child to the gas station where mother's child began CPR and called 911, according to court records.

Court documents showed Smith told detectives he went to sleep at around 11 p.m. Monday night. At some point in the night, Smith said the child started crying, so he took her out of the crib. Smith told detectives he placed his daughter at the foot of the bed, on her stomach with her feet pointing toward the foot of the bed. He told detectives he laid next to her, with his feet near her head, and his head pointing in the direction of the head of the bed. Smith told detectives he was having a dream and woke up to find he had kicked the infant, according to court documents. Smith told investigators he has dreams that cause him to kick in his sleep.

Officers arrested Smith at 6:27 a.m. at the hospital.

Prosecutors charged Smith with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and placed him on a $500,000 bond. In a bond recommendation note from the prosecutor, Dan Knight suggested the bond amount be cash only. "The State believes it is highly likely that charges will be upgraded in the near future," Knight wrote in the document.

At Smith's arraignment Tuesday afternoon, Smith told the judge he planned to apply for representation through the public defender's office. He also requested the judge reduce his bond so that he could be released. "I'm missing a lot of work and school," Smith said via closed circuit feed from the Boone County jail. He said in his previous charges, he's "never ran before."

The judge denied his request. Smith's next court appearance is scheduled for April 18.

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