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Lafayette police arrest parents for death of 7-week-old

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — Two people were arrested Tuesday for the death of seven-week-old Cheeyanna McKamey at a Lafayette residence in July, police say.

Erik McKamey, 39, and Tena Wood, 31, of Lafayette, are faced with charges of neglect of a dependent endangering its life and causing death, according to a release from Lafayette Police Wednesday.

At 7:30 a.m. July 19, officers with the Lafayette Police Department responded to the 1800 block of Shoshone Drive for a report of a seven-week-old child not breathing. First responders arrived and pronounced the child dead at the scene.

During the investigation, officers spoke with both Wood and Erik, who were Cheeyanna’s parents.

According to court documents, Erik told investigators that he woke up to feed and change the child’s diaper around 2 a.m., and did not recall falling back asleep. Erik then told investigators after Wood woke him up for work, he found the child face down on his and Wood’s mattress.

Erik told investigators that Cheeyanna had been sleeping in Erik and Wood’s bed as Cheeyanna’s crib was broken and the family was in the process of moving.

Erik told police that he turned the child over to discover she was purple. Court papers say Erik said he attempted to perform life-saving measures, but Cheeyanna was cold to the touch. After that, Erik and Wood called the police.

According to court documents, an autopsy determined that Cheeyanna’s cause of death was positional asphyxia, though a toxicology report showed signs of illegal fentanyl was present in her system.

Indiana Department of Child Services questioned Wood, who informed investigators of Erik waking up to feed and change Cheeyanna. Court papers say Wood told investigators that Erik had thickened Cheeyanna’s milk with rice cereal.

Wood told investigators that some of the cereal had fallen onto a table, which Wood said she and Erik “found abandoned near a dumpster” a week or two before the incident. Wood said Erik had picked up the cereal to place back in the bottle.

Investigators examined the contents of Cheeyanna’s bottle, which contained about 5.5 ounces of liquid, and found no traces of fentanyl or other substances in the milk.

Following further investigation from the Lafayette Police Department’s Special Victims Unit, Erik and Wood were taken to Tippecanoe County jail Tuesday.

Court documents say both Erik and Wood are convicted felons. Wood was previously charged with three counts of possessing a controlled substance and one count of possessing an illegal syringe. Erik was previously charged with theft, dealing cocaine, possessing an illegal syringe, and operating a motor vehicle after having his license permanently revoked.

Wood was being held on a $10,000 surety bond, while Erik was being held on an $11,000 surety bond, which included charges from a previous warrant.

A hearing for Wood was scheduled for 8 a.m. July 21. A hearing for Erik has not been set yet.

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