Monday, September 30, 2013

Dad charged with deliberate homicide in death of 8-week-old daughter; baby in dad's "sole custody" at time of fatal head injuries (Butte, Montana)

Dad is identified as MATTHEW JOHN BLAZ.

Notice that the baby was in the "sole custody" of the father at the time she received her fatal head injuries, and that there are references to "Blaz's home"--not the couple's home.

Wonder if this once again one of those custody/visitation situations, where the baby was placed in the hands of a father with a criminal record. Big mistake.

Father charged in baby’s death; Butte man arrested after autopsy

September 28, 2013 12:45 am • By Angela Brandt of The Montana Standard

A 32-year-old Butte man has been charged with killing his infant daughter.

Prosecutors say Matthew John Blaz killed the 8-week-old girl Aug. 16.

Authorities launched an investigation after the baby’s death, which was originally reported as an accidental fall, Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester said in a press conference Friday. The state Medical Examiner’s Office determined the baby died of abusive head trauma, and Blaz was arrested Thursday afternoon after questioning.

He is charged with deliberate homicide and is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Charging documents say Blaz was in sole custody of the baby at the time of death. Authorities believe the assault took place about 4 p.m. at Blaz’s home, 2017 Arizona St.

Later that day, Blaz was with the baby and her mother in a car at a local business parking lot when they called 911 to report the child wasn’t breathing. The couple was apparently trying to take the child to the hospital, the sheriff said.

An obituary published Aug. 21 in The Montana Standard identifies her as Mattisyn Jolene Blaz. It says “she passed away in the arms of her parents.”

Lester declined to say if a weapon was involved or describe the assault, saying only that Blaz “knowingly caused her death.”

“I can’t comment on what statements he’s made,” the sheriff said. “I can only indicate what the charging documents say.”

Neither Blaz nor his family could be reached for comment Friday.

Lester said his officers have previously “had involvement” with Blaz, but he was not immediately sure to what extent. Blaz received a prison sentence for criminal endangerment stemming from a 2002 charge in Missoula County and is on probation, according to the Montana Department of Corrections

The arrest marks the second time this year Butte-area authorities say a father killed his child. Jeremy Brent Cramer, 28, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of mitigated deliberate homicide in the slaying of his 3-year-old son. Cramer is accused of killing his son on July 9. Investigators found the boy’s body off of Mill Creek Highway, about five miles southeast of Anaconda.