- Associated Press - Friday, March 14, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger is calling on congressional leaders to resume talks on child protection legislation after the death of the 4-year-old girl for whom the measure is named.

Kilah Davenport’s case led to changes in state law regarding punishment for convicted child abusers. She died Thursday. Leslie Davenport said Friday the exact cause of her granddaughter’s death isn’t known. She said an autopsy has been performed.

Pittenger said in a statement that he’s called on Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to urge quick action on the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act, which unanimously passed the House of Representatives last December.

“We believe this type of egregious child abuse should have a measured response in terms of a sentencing guideline consistent with the crime,” Pittenger said.

Authorities say Kilah Davenport suffered a fractured skull and other injuries in 2012. Jurors convicted her stepfather, Joshua Houser, last month of felony child abuse. He was sentenced to a minimum of 7 years, a maximum of 10 in prison.

Pittenger said the family is awaiting passage of the legislation as well.

“It’s very sad. The whole affair is sad,” Pittenger said. “They’re hopeful. They had worked with a focus that they could protect children in the future. Sadly, this happened, and they hope something good is going to come out of it.”

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