William Dawes cries Wednesday as he tells a reporter what happened to his 7-month-old baby. Serenity Dawes stopped breathing Friday and died Saturday, but an autopsy showed that she also suffered from a fractured skull, retinal hemorrhaging, a broken leg and bruising.Dawes has been charged with murder.
Dawes and his wife Diana were arrested Monday and charged with their daughter’s death. Kentucky State Police say Serenity was at home with her father Friday when she stopped breathing.
She died Saturday at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.
Serenity also had a fractured skull, retinal hemorrhaging, a broken leg and bruising, police said.
She was put on life support, but had no brain activity.
Dawes, 27, said he did not harm his daughter, and that she must have suffered the injuries while staying with family members of his wife.
“We trusted family and this happens,” he said. “We would never suspect our family would do this.”
He said Serenity and her 3-year-old brother, Dawes’ stepson, stayed with family members from June 26 to June 28. When they returned, Dawes and his wife noticed Serenity was not acting like herself and had bruising on her side.
Dawes said relatives told them Serenity’s bruising happened when she fell out of her seat and one of them caught her.
His stepson, however, said Serenity suffered a hard fall.
“He said, ‘Sissy fell off the kitchen table’ and then clapped his hands together real hard to show me the sound,” Dawes said. A boyfriend of the relative was caring for the children at that time, Dawes said.
Dawes said he had just recovered from a sinus infection and assumed his daughter had one and that was why she was acting different.
“We heard some congestion in her,” he said.
The next day, Serenity began vomiting. Dawes said his wife gave her some Tylenol and the next day, she was breathing better.
On Friday, however, she was still not acting normally, he said, and they decided they would take her to the emergency room when his wife returned from work.
But Serenity did not make it until then.
The infant stopped breathing around noon Friday, Dawes said.
“I gave her a bath and then laid her in the living room,” Dawes said through tears. “I went in the kitchen, then back into the living room to check on her.”
He noticed something wrong right away, he said.
“Her little lips were blue,” he said. “I picked her up and ran next door to the neighbor’s house.”
From there, he called 911, he said.
Dawes said the ambulance arrived 15 to 20 minutes later. Madison County Emergency Management Services said Wednesday afternoon they could not provide the response time in an ongoing investigation without the permission of Kentucky State Police. Attempts to reach the investigating detective were unsuccessful.
Serenity was taken to Pattie A. Clay Medical Center and later transferred to UK, he said.
From that point on, Dawes was cut out of things, he said.
First, social service workers and then detectives talked to his wife without allowing Dawes to be present, he said.
“We were sitting there trying to mourn my daughter,” he said.
When one of the detectives did talk to him, he said, he seemed to have already made up his mind.
Dawes said he started to explain that the kids had been at his wife’s cousin’s home and the detective screamed that he didn’t “want to hear that bullshit.”
Dawes then told him he wanted a lawyer, he said.
Dawes said nobody is listening to him, and that police need to be using this time to find out what really happened.
“It’s like they’re ignoring me,” he said.
Jail officials will not let him talk to anyone to help deal with his grief, he said. He has asked to speak with a preacher to help him mourn, but has not yet seen one, he said.
He cried throughout the entire interview with the Register.
He has also struggled with medical conditions since his arrest, he said.
“I’ve had to fight with them to get my inhaler,” Dawes said. “Now I’m fighting with them to get my medicine.”
Dawes said he has back problems and suffers from depression.
He is forced to mourn the loss of his daughter and his stepson alone, he said.
His stepson is in state custody.
Dawes said his mother-in-law is willing to care for him, but social service workers have not agreed to release him, saying they have to approve the transfer.
“He doesn’t need to be with strangers,” he said.
Dawes said he would never harm either of the kids.
He said he wants everyone to know what happened to his baby, saying he has nothing to hide. He does not understand how anyone could have hurt her, he said.
“She never cried,” he said. “She was the happiest baby ever.”
Investigators say Dawes has given inconsistent statements about what happened. Though he refused to speak with police, he has told family members at least three different versions, said Trooper Chris Lanham, spokesperson for the Kentucky State Police, in a Tuesday interview with the Register.
“He also said some things to members of the press that were not consistent with earlier statements,” Lanham said.
After a Monday autopsy confirmed death was caused by complications from blunt force trauma, police arrested Dawes and his wife.
Dawes said he has been in trouble before, but he refused to divulge any details.
William Dawes is charged with murder and first-degree criminal abuse, a class C felony. Diana Dawes is charged with complicity to murder and first-degree criminal abuse. Murder and complicity to murder are both capitol offenses.
Both William and Diana are lodged in the Madison County Detention Center, William on a $250,000 full-cash bond and Diana on a $100,000 full-cash bond.
At their arraignment Wednesday morning, Special Judge David Hayse entered not guilty pleas on their behalf. They each were appointed public defenders and are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on July 13. The judge will decide at that time whether there is enough evidence in the case to send it to a grand jury for indictment.
Diana Dawes did not wish to speak with the Register, according to Jailer Doug Thomas.
Kelly McKinney can be reached at kmckinney@
Read more at richmondregister.com
William Dawes cries Wednesday as he tells a reporter what happened to his
7-month-old baby. Serenity Dawes stopped breathing Friday and died Saturday, but an autopsy showed that she also suffered from a fractured skull, retinal
broken leg and bruising.Dawes has been charged with murder.
Lorie Love Hailey