Austin Stevens is a Pennsylvania man accused of raping his 10-month-old daughter, Zara Scruggs, who sustained head trauma and later died, according to local authorities.
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office announced on October 6 the arrest of the 29-year-old Lower Providence Township man on charges relating to Zara Scruggs’ death, including “involuntary deviant sexual intercourse,” rape of a child, aggravated assault and others.
Lower Providence Police were dispatched on October 3 around 10:40 p.m. following a 911 call for an unresponsive infant, according to the statement from officials.
“Upon arrival, they found the unresponsive infant and her father, Austin Stevens. Police immediately began CPR on the unresponsive baby, who was transported by ambulance to Einstein Medical Center Montgomery,” according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office.
“Despite resuscitation efforts, she was pronounced dead at 12:12 a.m.”
Stevens was charged with involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, rape of a child, aggravated assault, aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child and related charges, according to the statement.
“This case is deeply disturbing,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele. “It is hard to imagine this child’s death being any more traumatic: sexual assault on an infant, followed by inaction by the father to save her life, led to her death.”
Stevens was unable to make the $1 million bail and was remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, the district attorney’s office confirmed. A preliminary hearing is slated for October 13 at 3 p.m.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Stevens’ Search History Included ‘What if You Don’t Hear Baby Heart or Beat,’ Police Say
After investigators obtained a search warrant to download Stevens’ phone data, they found that he had “conducted multiple Google searches for nearly an hour before calling 911,” the district attorney’s office indicated.
His search history included the phrases, “If baby stop breathing,” “What if you don’t hear baby heart or beat,” “My baby isn’t breathing” and “How do you know if a bsby is dead,” the office continued.
“Stevens also conducted social media and text conversations with two women during this time that were not related to the baby’s condition,” according to the release.
2. Zara Scruggs Was the ‘Victim of a Sexual Assault,’ According to Police
A diaper worn by the infant on her way to the hospital was “saturated with blood,” authorities said in the release.
An October 4 autopsy conducted by Dr. Frederick Hellman, a forensic pathologist with the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, found that 10-month-old Zara “was the victim of a sexual assault, sustaining anal rectal trauma and blunt force trauma to the head,” according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
The cause and manner of death have not yet been determined, pending additional test results, the office added.
3. Stevens Is the Co-Owner of Black Diamond Construction, His Social Media States
The company is “a multi-faceted construction company committed to providing the necessary services that will bring your company’s project to fruition. Our company is fully licensed (PA136422) and insured also staffed with skilled employees who place great deal of pride in their work,” the website continues.
“Whether it be a Demolition, General Construction Laboring, Residential Remodeling, Hauling, or Cleaning services, no Contract is deemed complete until you are satisfied!”
4. Local Media Reported That Stevens Was an Assistant Coach for a Youth Football Team
WPVI-TV reported that Stevens was an assistant coach for the Lower Providence Warriors football team, citing investigators.
The Lower Providence Midget Football Association is “the premier youth football organization in the area,” according to its website. “The Warriors are an organization that promotes youth football and cheerleading for children ages 5 through 15.”
Several photos uploaded to Stevens’ Facebook appear to confirm the claim, showcasing the 29-year-old posing with players and trophies.
5. Stevens Hails From Norristown & Recently Posted About Uplifting ‘Other Black Men,’ His Social Media Says
According to his Facebook profile, Stevens hails from Norristown, Pennsylvania, and attended Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School.
His relationship status on the page indicates he is single.
On June 4, Stevens posted a photo of himself in a suit with a caption about uplifting “other Black men,” writing:
We are BLACK MEN!….. We build …. We don’t tear down other BLACK MEN! …. We have felt the pain of being torn down and we have decided we will be deliberate about building others! If I didn’t tag you, please don’t be offended. I tried to pick people I thought would do this challenge!! All too often, we men find it easier to criticize each other, instead of building each other up. With all the negativity going around let’s do something positive!!🌟
Upload 1 picture of yourself…ONLY you. Then tag as many brothers to do the same. (FB only allows 50). Let’s build ourselves up, instead of tearing ourselves down.
🖤🖤 COPY AND PASTE 🖤🖤
If I tagged you, don’t disappoint me!!