Madison police investigating toddler’s loss of life as murder; man in custody

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – “Scenes like this are hard to process. It’s hard to understand how someone could hurt an innocent child,” Madison Police Dept. Chief Shon Barnes said Monday while offering an update on the death of a 20-month-old girl earlier in the day, including that someone has been taken into custody.

According to Barnes, officers responded to the apartment complex on Madison’s west side around 2:45 am after neighbors heard a woman screaming for help and saying a man had killed her baby. The MPD Chief added that the woman, who was the baby’s mother, had also been attacked.

As soon as they arrived, police officers began trying to save the little girl’s life and EMS crews rushed to the scene, Barnes said. The toddler was sped to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. MPD is treating her death as a homicide, he confirmed.

Her mother was taken to the hospital having suffered serious injuries, Barnes continued, adding that she is expected to survive. No other children were in the apartment, at the 5600 block of Schroeder Road, at the time.

“We want to take a moment to honor her life. We express our sorrow for the English of the family and those who loved this little girl,” Barnes said during his update.

Madison police officers detained a 23-year-old man at the scene who was reportedly in a relationship with the child’s mother. MPD described the man, identified as Marshawn Giles, as someone with a long criminal history and noted that a recent Dept. of Corrections warrant warned authorities to consider him “armed and dangerous.”

This wasn’t the first time police responded to this apartment for a child assault incident involving Giles; on Thursday Barnes said officers were dispatched to the same unit for the abuse of the baby girl’s older sibling.

“Our officers got a call regarding child assault, not this child but the sibling of this child,” said Barnes. “This person was listed as someone involved in that case, so since then we’ve been working with Child Protective Services to determine what happened in that case.”

The older siblings were not home during Monday’s incident because arrangements were made for them to stay with their grandparents after last week’s assault, Barnes said. Giles was not taken into custody at that time because he could not be located.

Barnes did not indicate how the child died, saying that the Dane Co. Medical Examiner will release the exact cause of death at a later time.

“It’s painful for the family directly involved, the community who is trying to understand why and our officers who responded to one of the worst types of scenes,” he said.

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