Utah man charged with murder of infant son in 2021

Jul 15, 2022, 4:46 PM
FILE PHOTO - (Courtesy Deseret News)...
FILE PHOTO - (Courtesy Deseret News)
(Courtesy Deseret News)

BEAVER, Utah — A 27-year-old Utah man was arrested and charged Friday for the death of his infant son who died in September of last year at Beaver Valley Hospital.

Joshua Downey has been charged with first-degree aggravated murder and aggravated child abuse months after the baby’s mother, Tawna Steed, was arrested on suspicion of aggravated murder. On Sept. 19, 2021, the 23-day-old child was not breathing and was declared dead at Beaver Valley Hospital.

In court documents from the arrest of Steed, police detailed Downey’s account of the events surrounding the child’s death. Those same notes were present in Friday’s probable cause documents. He told police that on two occasions he came inside their home to find Steed shaking the baby and squeezing its chest. He cried in interviews with police and told them he held and comforted the infant.

One of the shaking incidents was approximately four days before the child’s death. Downey said Steed told him the “infant wouldn’t stop crying and she was getting over the infant’s crying, that she was done with it,” documents state.

On Jun 29, police interviewed Downey again and asked him what the baby’s mother would say in court about his contributions to the child’s death.

“I asked Josh if Tawna ever saw him squeeze or shake the infant, he told me no,” documents state. Investigators also asked Downey why he didn’t seek help when the baby’s medical help.

Utah woman arrested on suspicion of shaking, killing her infant boy

“Josh said he was scared, he wasn’t sure what was going on and didn’t know if he was going to completely lose the infant to the state. I confirmed with Josh that he had known something was wrong with the infant.”

Downey was also questioned why he didn’t take the child to medical appointments and asked if he felt he had failed the baby.

“Josh told us that he feels that way every day. Josh feels that if he had taken the infant in for appointments that the infant would probably still be here,” documents state. “Josh told us that he has a tattoo on his chest that says no regrets. Josh said that he honestly regrets that.”

Downey said the baby was perfectly happy at the hospital and claimed Steed gave the baby Tylenol two to three times a day, almost every day. Police said Downey told Steed to cancel the last doctor’s appointment because he was worried about the baby being removed from the family.

Downey denied shaking or squeezing the infant and told police he never did anything to cause injury to him but did feel somewhat responsible for the death. He was booked into jail Thursday. Steed has a court hearing in August.

In the results of an autopsy in October, a pathologist told investigators the infant’s death was a homicide and said the baby had multiple rib cage fractures and at least two separate brain hemorrhages that would have been caused by someone shaking the baby or another blunt force trauma causing death.

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Utah man charged with murder of infant son in 2021