DES MOINES, Iowa — The family of a teenage father accused of beating his eight-month-old daughter to death is now speaking out, saying Jayden Straight would never harm his child and instead putting the blame on someone else.
“It’s really sad because the baby is gone, Jayden is gone,” says Carla Mickael, Straight’s grandmother.
On Sunday, Straight was charged with first degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death following the death of his infant daughter. Mickael says Straight was very active in his daughter Raija’s life and considered her a top priority. She says he would never want to harm the child.
“I think he’s being wrongfully accused of something that he never did.”
In criminal complaint, doctors say the baby was deliberately assaulted on July 13th and suffered from several skull fractures, broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, and hemorrhaging. Mickael says the accusations are false and claims the injuries came from the baby’s mother a few days prior. She says the couple’s relationship was unhealthy.
“He had noticed some bruising on the babies ribs after he got home,” she says. “He knew something was wrong. He probably should have done something about that.”
Straight told investigators he was home alone with the baby when she became unresponsive. Raija died at the hospital on July 14th. In the report, doctors say the injuries likely happened immediately after the alleged assault.
“He called us this morning and he told us all that he loved us. He sounds like hes willing to take the fall if that’s what he has to do because he loves his child,” Mickael says.
Straight is scheduled to be back in court on July 25th.