By Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2020

ELKO, Nev. (AP) - A 24-year-old Elko man arrested last week on suspicion of child abuse now faces an open murder charge after authorities say the infant died from head trauma.

The Elko Daily Free Press reports Nathan O’Dell was charged in the May 12 death of the seven-month-old boy and faces an additional child abuse charge involving a 4-year-old boy in his care.

Elko Police Chief Ty Trouten says O’Dell was arrested after he called 911 that morning to report the infant wasn’t breathing. The baby died two later later at a Utah hospital.

Authorities say O’Dell was caring for both boys while their mother was out of town. He’s not the father of either.

A complaint signed Thursday by District Attorney Tyler Ingram said the state may seek to impose the death penalty if O’Dell is convicted. It’s not clear if O’Dell has a lawyer or will be appointed one at a pending court appearance.

Police say O’Dell claimed he dropped the baby while trying to revive him by splashing cold water on him in the shower. He eventually died at a hospital with multiple skull fractures that medical staff said were indicative of violent shaking often referred to as “shaken baby syndrome.”

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