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Jackson County officials investigating sexual assault of 9-month-old

Sheriff calls crime incomprehensible

RIPLEY — Jackson County authorities are investigating the alleged sexual assault of a 9-month-old in a case the local sheriff said is the worst he’s seen, or heard of, in his 25 years as a lawman.

Benjamin Taylor, 32, was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with first-degree sexual assault. He was arraigned by Jackson County Magistrate Tom Reynolds and was incarcerated in the South Central Regional Jail.

The alleged victim was a 9-month-old baby girl, Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs said. Taylor is the boyfriend of the victim’s mother, but is not the child’s biological father, he said.

The child has been hospitalized in critical condition; however, according to a post on gofundme.com, the girl has been declared clinically brain dead. Additional tests are planned for Wednesday, the post reads.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Jackson County Magistrate Court, the child was found to have extensive bleeding and a body temperature of 90 degrees.

“Truthfully, I don’t know that any of us can really comprehend a crime of this nature,” he said. “Not only is it the worst I’ve seen or encountered, it’s as bad as anything I’ve ever heard of.”

The victim’s mother found Taylor and the victim in the basement of their Fairplain home and called for help between 4:30 and 5 a.m. When emergency medical responders arrived on the scene, they found the child unresponsive, Boggs said.

“We received a 911 call and responded with Jackson County EMS. When we arrived, we found a slightly less-than-10-month-old unresponsive,” he said. “The medics tended to her and my guys began an investigation that ultimately lead to the arrest of Mr. Taylor for first-degree sexual assault.”

According to the complaint, the victim sustained injuries indicating a violent sexual assault, as well as shaking or striking of the face.

Deputies found blankets and clothing stained with blood in the basement of the residence, according to the complaint. Additionally, Taylor allegedly had blood on his own body, and attempted to wipe something away from his groin area while being taken into custody, the complaint states.

The complaint states Taylor had taken the baby to the basement while doing laundry. He told deputies he “blacked out” and didn’t know how the baby’s injuries had occurred.

As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, more than $7,000 had been raised for medical expenses and lawyer fees at gofundme.com. The stated goal is $20,000. To donate, fo to www.gofundme.com/3oe5us.

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