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Father Said He Shook His 3-Month-Old Daughter to Death Because of 'Stress'

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — A Missouri father who admitted shaking his 3-month-old twin daughters so severely that one died and the other suffered a skull fracture blamed "stress" and told authorities it happened when one baby woke the other up, according to court records.

Erick Ford, a 28-year-old stay-at-home father, was charged last week with child endangerment and two domestic assault counts. He's being held on $465,000 bond. His attorney didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.

One of the twins wasn't breathing Sept. 13 when officers responded to a home in Cuba Missouri, about 75 miles southwest of St. Louis. Ford joined the baby in an ambulance as she was taken to a hospital. She was then transferred to a St. Louis children's hospital, where she died three days later, said Cuba police Chief Paul Crow, who responded to the home, where a broken bathroom mirror was found.

"These are the cases we officers hate the most," he said. "I understood the stress parents go through, but the act itself is unimaginable and horrible."

The girl's mother said she was working when Ford called to tell her that one of the twins wasn't breathing, the probable cause statement said. She told him to call 911. Between them, the couple had four other boys, in addition to the twins.

The surviving twin had been awake and looking around in her bassinet when emergency responded and wasn't immediately taken to a hospital. But she was later admitted for a "significant brain bleed and a skull fracture," a detective wrote in the probable cause statement said. Crow said the baby is "doing much better" after undergoing surgery Sept. 15. A doctor said she may have "some degree of permanent brain damage," according to the probable cause statement. Crow said the extent won't be known until the baby is older.

Ford initially said he dropped a bassinet when it bumped against a door frame but subsequently admitted to shaking both girls three different times, the detective wrote.

"When asked why he did, Erick stated it was because of stress and that it happened when one baby woke the other up," the probable cause statement said. "Erick claims that he didn't mean to hurt either girl but just wanted to calm them."

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