36-year-old Brandon Reynolds, father of a 5-year-old daughter, was charged with child abuse, intentionally caused, resulting in the death of a child under 13.
“This is definitely a heartbreaking tragedy and our officers and detectives are working diligently at this time to get justice for this little girl,” Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier said.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Reynolds had custody of his daughter after concerns about her mother’s marijuana use were brought up during a legal dispute.
The Albuquerque, N.M. man began spanking his daughter when she would not do her homework around 8 p.m. Thursday. From there, a criminal complaint obtained by ABC affiliate KOAT says he “didn’t know what came over him” and “that’s when the discipline set in” before he eventually “blacked out.”
“Once he realized she was lethargic he cradled her on the floor of the living room,” a detective wrote in the complaint. He put her in bed, put ice on her back, and listened to her heartbeat.
Neighbors remembered Sarah as “a little angel,” according to KOAT. Her babysitter would paint her nails and do her hair.
A neighbor told police she heard Reynolds yelling “get up!” followed by “sounds of someone or something being struck.”
According to the complaint, officers on the scene found blood on living room walls and carpet when they arrived. The girl was hit repeatedly with a shoe and had multiple bruises.
911 was not called until 1 a.m. Friday, when he told operators his daughter was suffering from cardiac arrest, according to police. Responders attempted to revive the girl on her way to University of New Mexico Hospital. She was pronounced dead on arrival.
The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department was called to investigate abuse, and detectives “learned from hospital staff that the girl had suffered serious injuries,” according to Geier. “Detectives from our crimes against children unit were called to the scene to investigate with the assistance of our homicide unit.”