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Man says baby died from drowning; coroner disagrees

Updated May 8, 2017 - 11:03 pm

A man charged with murder in the death of a 10-month-old baby told police the baby died while unattended in the bath.

Stephen Gayles, 27, was arrested last week in connection with the Dec. 6 death of Maliq Simmons in North Las Vegas. The Clark County coroner’s office ruled the death a homicide Monday and ruled the baby died from blunt-force injuries.

According to an arrest report, Gayles told police he left the baby in the bath while he retrieved diapers and baby wipes from outside the bathroom.

When he returned, he told police, the baby’s recliner was tilted over and the baby was underwater.

Gayles relayed two versions of the story to police, the report said. First, he said he found the baby on his back with his mouth and nose sticking out of the water, the report says. When he retold the story, Gayles said the baby was face-down and flailing.

The baby was taken to University Medical Center on Dec. 4 and died there two days later.

A doctor who reviewed the case told police that Simmons suffered from a skull fracture and bleeding of the brain.

Gayles told police he may have accidentally hit the baby’s head on the way downstairs before performing CPR. But the doctor told police Gayles could not have done so with enough force to fracture the skull.

Gayles is being held at the Clark County Detention Center. He faces charges of murder and two counts of child abuse.

Contact Rachel Hershkovitz at rhershkovitz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @rzhershkovitz on Twitter.

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