North Las Vegas police arrest father in March death of infant daughter

Half a year has passed since 2-month-old Janya Chinn died after suffering internal organ damage and hemorrhages in her spine and brain.

Last week, her father, Joshua Chinn, was arrested and charged with murder in connection with his infant daughter’s death, according to North Las Vegas police.

Janya died on March 14, according to the child death report filed with the state by the Clark County Department of Family Services. She died after sustaining what doctors described as severe head and body trauma, police reports indicated.

Janya was taken to University Medical Center about 11 p.m. on March 13. Doctors managed to stabilize the infant, but said she was listed in “very critical condition.”

She died the next day.

Chinn, 19, told police that the infant began to gasp for air shortly after being fed and put to bed about 9:30 p.m. He said he took his daughter out of her room to alert the rest of his family, While 911 was called, the infant’s maternal grandfather performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

At UMC, doctors noted that Janya had strange curved marks on her body, which a crime scene investigator said appeared to be bite marks. Doctors noted hemorrhaging in Janya’s spine and the right side of her skull, as well as damage to several of Janya’s internal organs, including her liver, a kidney and her small intestines.

Chinn and Janya’s mother, Jessica Isaac, repeatedly told detectives that no one had hurt Janya, and they had no idea how the injuries came about.

Others, however, told detectives a different story.

Medical personnel at the Guadalupe Medical Center, which provided much of Janya’s pediatric care, told police they had seen Chinn yelling at Janya because she was crying, telling the infant to “shut up.” The medical center had no record of any phsyical abuse against Janya, the police report said.

Janya’s maternal grandmother, identified by police only as Vernastine, told detectives that she was very concerned with the type of care Chinn was providing for the infant. Vernastine informed police her daughter told her about bite marks on Janya’s stomach. The grandmother also said she saw Chinn slapping Janya in the face, which Chinn vehemently downplayed to police, saying he “was playing with Janya by pushing her cheeks with his hands and making her roll over by the force of his pushes,” the police report said.

Vernastine also detailed the night Janya was taken to the hospital. She heard a single loud cry from her granddaughter, one that was louder than usual. Chinn came out of the bedroom yelling that Janya wasn’t breathing, she told police.

Several witnesses told police that Chinn was the last person alone with the infant girl before she was taken to UMC.

It wasn’t until Aug. 28 that detectives got a break in the case after the Clark County coroner’s office identified an official cause and manner of death: homicide caused by physical abuse.

Chinn was arrested at his home without incident on Sept. 12, according to North Las Vegas police spokeswoman officer Chrissie Coon.

According to the child death report, Chinn had a history with the state’s family services, and was the victim of child abuse himself. After reported neglect in 1994, Chinn, then 10 months old, became a ward of the state for the first time. That happened again in 2000.

Chinn is being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 3.

Review-Journal writer Mike Blasky contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.