Man charged in infant murder

November 16, 2009 7:33:40 AM PST
A Wake County man is charged with the murder and sexual assault of a 10-month-old girl.Tuesday authorities released the 911 call that recorded the frantic minutes after police say an infant was sexually assaulted by her stepfather.

Investigators say they got a call about an unresponsive infant just before 9 p.m. Sunday. The child was taken to WakeMed where she was pronounced dead.

The caller, 26-year-old Joshua Stepp, was the stepfather of the 10-month-old little girl.

Stepp is now charged with the assault and murder.

The charges are much different than the frantic, but seemingly innocent 911 call. The call came in late Sunday night from a Raleigh apartment.

"My baby, it just swallowed a toil.., uh, uh, uh, a thing of toilet paper and she's not breathing," Stepp told a 911 operator. "I'm trying to, like, resuscitate her, and, uh, her heart is beating but she's not breathing."

But investigators don't believe the child swallowed toilet paper, they say they believe Stepp raped the child and, in the process, killed her.

"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God ? come on, Cheyenne, come on," said Stepp during the 911 call.

Inside the apartment off Jones Franklin Road, Stepp apparently performed CPR on the infant guided by the 911 dispatcher right up until paramedics arrived.

"Oh my God, oh my God ?I gotta call my wife," said Stepp during the 911 call.

Stepp's wife, the mother of the child, was not in court Tuesday, but a woman who identified herself only as a babysitter named Nicki was.

"I took care of her often and I loved her," she said. "She was an awesome child. And now she's gone."

As he left the courtroom Tuesday, Stepp glanced at his father and shook his head.

The charges against him left his father with nothing to say.

"It's not appropriate to make any comment, okay, please stop," James Stepp said.

The baby's body has been sent to the medical examiner's office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy.

Stepp is scheduled for a probable cause hearing next month. He is being held in jail without bond.

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