A Tennessee father was convicted of murder after investigators discovered that he got high and fell on top of his infant daughter, slowly suffocating her to death.
Harley Kemp Craddock was 4 months old when she died on April 3, 2021, after her father, 40-year-old Jesse Wayne Craddock, overdosed on fentanyl and collapsed on top of her for more than 10 minutes. The little girl died from asphyxiation, an autopsy revealed, according to local police.
Lebanon Police Department (LPD) Public Information Officer Richard Clark confirmed in an email to Newsweek on Saturday that Craddock was on top of the infant for “an extended amount of time.”
Following a four-day trial, a Wilson County jury on Thursday found Craddock guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child neglect and simple possession of fentanyl, the LPD said in a statement shared on Facebook.
Craddock is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in November, the department said.
On the day of the incident, the LPD along with the Lebanon Fire Department and the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency responded to a 911 call at the Travel Inn on Murfreesboro Road in Lebanon, Tennessee, located roughly 30 miles from Nashville, LPD said.
After arriving at the scene, officers found a “disoriented” Craddock and an “unresponsive” infant outside of a motel room, LPD said, adding that CPR was administered immediately to the baby. The infant and her father were transported to Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital, however, the 4-month-old girl was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital, according to the department.
After being treated at the hospital, Craddock was found in possession of “suspected narcotics” and released into police custody, the department said.
During the preliminary investigation into the girl’s death, LPD said investigators learned that the infant had been left in the care of Craddock while her mother was at work.
The department said that evidence gathered during the “intensive and thorough investigation involving multiple agencies” along with the autopsy concluding that the baby died from asphyxiation, led investigators to determine that Craddock “fell on top of the child while under the influence of Fentanyl and remained there as the child passed away.”
Investigators also obtained surveillance footage from the area that showed Craddock falling on the little girl and remaining there for roughly 13 minutes, local news outlet The Tennessean reports.
“The incident occurred in front of the room on the sidewalk,” Clark told Newsweek. “Due to the location, the outside cameras were able to capture the incident.”
While Clark said he did not have the information on who made the 911 call prompting law enforcement to be dispatched to the motel, he told Newsweek that he was one of the officers who responded to the scene while in his prior role with the LPD.
Prosecutors noted that prior to being convicted in his daughter’s murder, Craddock was in prison for probation violation. Clark told Newsweek that Craddock has a “lengthy criminal history.”
“The Lebanon Police Department is pleased with the verdict that was handed down today and we appreciate all agencies that assisted us in achieving this verdict,” LPD Chief Mike Justice said in the statement that was shared on Facebook Thursday following Craddock’s conviction.