Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dad with history of DV charged with murder in death of 3-month-old daughter; admits he smothered baby with pillow (Indianapolis, Indiana)

A father with a history of domestic violence who killed the baby while Mom was at work. He should have been locked up long ago.

Dad is identified as JEFFREY D. FAIRBANKS.

Father placed pillow over 3-month-old baby, affidavit alleges
Michael Anthony Adams, Madeline Buckley and Kristine Guerra
5:11 p.m. EDT August 28, 2015

Jeffrey D. Fairbanks, 45, faces charges of murder and neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

The body of 3-month-old Janna Rivera still is missing three months after the Indianapolis child’s disappearance triggered searches through three counties and various explanations from the girl’s father.

But the person accused of killing Janna has now been charged. Jeffrey D. Fairbanks, the father whose accounts, according to court records, changed from not remembering much of May 28 to saying he picked up a lifeless body to admitting to putting a pillow on his crying daughter’s head, was charged Friday in Marion Superior Court with murder and neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

Her body has not been found.

"We are alleging that she is dead and he knowingly killed her," Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson said.

When asked why it took three months for charges to be filed, Robinson said prosecutors needed time to assess all the statements and evidence.

The absence of an autopsy report could pose a challenge for prosecutors in proving what caused the infant's death.

"There's a considerable amount of things we need to prove," Robinson said.

Police said they were called May 29 to a Northeastside home in the 4100 block of Candy Apple Boulevard after the infant’s mother, Yolanda Rivera-Gonzalez, called 911 to report her baby’s disappearance.

Police interviewed Fairbanks, who told detectives various stories.

He first said he couldn't remember anything about May 28.

Then, according to a probable cause affidavit, he said, "I don't wanna go to jail."

Ultimately, he told police, "let's go," signaling to them he would show them where he left the baby, the affidavit said.

The next day Fairbanks, 45, took police to a dumpster at Maison Garden Apartments on the Northeastside.

"I picked her up, and she wasn't movin' anymore," the affidavit said Fairbanks told police.

The dumpster, though, was nearly empty, the affidavit said, leading to a search of a landfill on the Southside.

Back at a police station, detectives questioned Fairbanks again.

He told police he woke up at 5:30 a.m. that day because the child was crying. He said he "muffled" her with a pillow but denied putting pressure on the pillow, the affidavit said.

Fairbanks said later that morning he noticed the baby wasn't moving and took her to the dumpster, the affidavit said.

He told his wife he buried the child in a cornfield and placed a cross at the burial site, the affidavit said.

One of the children in the home told police Fairbanks would sometimes cover the baby with a pillow when she cried.

Over the next few months investigators chased leads throughout Shelby, Hancock and Marion counties, searching fields, landfills and other undisclosed locations to no avail.

The mother of Janna said her relationship with Fairbanks had turned violent about two years ago, according to a personal protection order she filed in June. Rivera-Gonzalez alleges that Fairbanks would beat her at least once a month, leaving her scarred, bruised and afraid that she and her children were not safe when he was around.

Rivera-Gonzalez also alleges in the personal protection order that Fairbanks admitted to burying their daughter while she was at work.

He said that Janna died while he was watching her and Rivera-Gonzalez's two older children, according to the order.

The order is one of two active protection orders filed against Fairbanks.

The other, filed in June 2013, is associated with a charge of domestic battery that Fairbanks is facing in Hendricks County. Fairbanks is being held without bond in the Marion County Jail.

Judge Sheila Carlisle entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

A public defender has been assigned to his case.