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After Autopsy, West Norriton Father Charged with Third-Degree Murder

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Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and West Norriton Township Police Chief Michael Kelly announce the arrest of Craig Baylis, 31, of West Norriton Township, on charges of Third-Degree Murder and Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the death of his 6-week-old daughter Mackenna Baylis in February.

On Feb. 22, 2021, at approximately noon, West Norriton Police responded to a 911 call for a cardiac arrest. Police arrived to find the baby’s mother, Kendra Simmons, performing CPR on her daughter. The officer took over CPR until Plymouth Ambulance arrived and transported the infant to Einstein Montgomery Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 12:55 p.m.

A joint investigation into the baby’s death was launched by West Norriton Police and Montgomery County Detectives. The investigation found that Simmons had left the home at 9:55 a.m. to go to a scheduled doctor’s appointment, leaving the baby in the defendant’s care. At 11:55 a.m., she received a call from Baylis saying the baby had fallen, her nose was bleeding but “she was fine.” Simmons rushed home to find Baylis rocking the baby. She thought Mckenna look gray and lifeless, and immediately called 911. The defendant was the only one home with the baby while Simmons was gone.

Forensic Pathologist Dr. Ian Hood, with the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, performed an autopsy on Mckenna Baylis on Feb. 23, 2021, and ruled the cause and manner of death as undetermined pending further testing. Dr. Hood listed it as pending further studies, which included a study of the brain. On March 15, 2021, Dr. Lyndsey Emery, a Forensic Neuropathologist, examined Mackenna’s brain. She noted numerous acute hemorrhages, or ruptured blood vessels, in multiple areas of the brain and eyes.

After reviewing the findings of the brain examination, Dr. Hood opined that Mackenna Baylis’ cause of death was inflicted head trauma, and the manner of death was a homicide. Dr. Hood further noted that the injuries stemmed from “vigorous movement of the head while relatively fixed in relation to the neck.”

“A very vulnerable child--only a month and a half old—was left in the care of someone who should have protected her. Instead, he shook the life out of baby Mackenna,” said Steele. “We will seek justice for Mackenna and for a family mourning the death of baby Mackenna.”

Baylis was arraigned on May 26, 2021, before Magisterial District Judge Marc A. Alfaranno. Bail was denied, and the defendant was remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for 11 a.m., June 7, 2021, in front of Judge Alfaranno.


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