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Officials: Baby dies after father shoved fingers down throat

WENTZVILLE, Mo. --  A 9-week-old Missouri baby whose father is accused of sticking his fingers down the child’s throat to stop his crying has died, and the father is now facing an upgraded criminal charge.

Wentzville Assistant Police Chief Paul West says the boy died Monday at a St. Louis hospital after a family court judge ordered that he be removed from life-support.

The parents, 19-year-old Robert Burnette and 20-year-old Megan Hendricks, were originally charged with felony child abuse or neglect. On Tuesday, the St. Charles County prosecutor upgraded the charge against Burnette to child abuse resulting in death.

Police say Burnette shoved his fingers down the infant son’s throat, violently shook him, picked him up by his neck and threw him against a wall. Police say the baby suffered from bleeding on the brain and broken bones, among other injuries, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The alleged abuse happened sometime between Oct. 18 and Nov. 7 at a Wentzville home.

Police say Hendricks watched the abuse but didn’t intervene. Hendricks still faces the original charge of felony child abuse or neglect.

A family court judge on Monday ordered the child taken off life support after a hospital ethics committee decided it was in the infant’s best interest, the paper reports. The child’s parents reportedly did not appeal the decision.

The amended charge against Burnette could result in a punishment of 30 years to life in prison if he’s convicted, the paper reports.

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