Hatboro man Edward Doyle, 28, who was on Sunday arrested for child welfare endangerment in connection with the death of his 2-month-old daughter Makayla, is now facing additional charges of murder and falsification to authorities, according to court documents released today.
Doyle originally told investigators he tripped while holding the child early Sunday morning and fell on top of her, then placed her in an infant swing. He claimed the error came after a long night of drinking and that he didn't realize the extent of Makayla's injuries until he awoke the next morning and found her in the swing "limp" and "white as a ghost."
But prosecutors today said autopsy results of the 2-month-old's body tell a different story. "Very simply, this horrific death of a 2-month-old baby was caused by multiple traumatic injuries," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said during a news conference today. She said the child suffered "so many skull fractures that, at this point, they haven't all been able to be counted yet."
Ferman, who after the additional charges were filed said she had "no doubt this was the appropriate course of action," claimed Doyle killed Makayla during a "drunken rage."
Forensic Pathologist Isidore Mihalakis ruled the child's death a homicide. He said in addition to multiple broken ribs and skull fractures, Makayla suffered facial injuries consistent with her nose being pinched, apparently in an effort to hamper breathing. Mihalakis also viewed a video of Doyle demonstrating how he fell while holding Makayla and found the man's version of events to be incompatible with the child's extensive injuries.
Doyle's attorney Robert Hoopes said his client is in "great pain," but that he thinks the trial will reveal a different story. "He did nothing intentional – it was an accident," Hoopes said of his client. "Where he lives – all the people there, I've heard from them that he's the greatest father in the world who would do nothing to hurt his children."
Hoopes seemed to lay a good deal of the blame at the feet of Doyle's wife, 30-year-old Nicole Lavelle. He claimed his client went out drinking without knowing he was going to have to take care of his children that night when he returned. "He came home and he and his wife had some sort of discussion and she went to a neighbor's apartment," Hoopes said. "He went down to get her. When he got there, she says, 'I'm not coming back. You can take care of the kids.'"
Hoopes reasserted that Doyle picked up a crying Makayla to console her and then tripped and fell on top of the child as he attempted to walk to the kitchen and make a bottle.
Doyle was arraigned this morning on the additional charges and jailed without bail at the Montgomery County Correction Facility. He is next due in court on March 5 for a preliminary hearing.