Tampa Bay-area man charged with 1st-degree murder in the death of his 3-month-old daughter



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PINELLAS PARK, Florida — A Tampa Bay-area man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 3-month-old daughter, whose late-night cries had disturbed him several times, authorities said.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office says 44-year-old Steven Dykes was uncooperative as he was booked into jail Saturday.

According to the sheriff's office, Dykes tended to his daughter Olivia when she awoke multiple times late Wednesday and early Thursday. As her mother left the house around 6 a.m. Thursday, authorities say Dykes emerged with the unresponsive baby, screaming that she was dead.

Detectives said the baby suffered obvious trauma to her head, face and feet. An autopsy determined she had multiple skull fractures.

The sheriff's office says Dykes caused the injuries by holding Olivia's feet while shaking her violently and inflicting blunt trauma to her head.

"He probably got very frustrated and slammed this kid, really slammed her," Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.

County jail records did not show Sunday whether Dykes had an attorney.

According to investigators, Dykes initially denied beating the baby and his statements were contradictory to those made by Olivia's mother.

Dykes was kept under surveillance and was arrested Saturday after he said he was "sorry for what he did" while ordering a prescription for anti-anxiety medication, the sheriff's office said.

Dykes had a criminal history including drug charges, but he had no history of mental illness, and there wasn't any history of violence at the home, Gualtieri said.

Dykes and Olivia's mother, Melissa Schroll, also have a 21-month-old son, who has been sent to stay with Schroll's parents in Tarpon Springs, authorities said. Schroll is not suspected of any wrongdoing.

Gualtieri said the couple were unemployed and under significant financial strain.

Florida's Department of Children & Families is reviewing the case, but the agency had no previous contact with Dykes, officials said.

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