Shaken baby victim dies 6 years later; father could face murder charges

An Ohio girl who was shaken, choked and beaten by her father as an infant six years ago died earlier this week, the Dayton Daily News reported.

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Joani Marie Merrick died Sunday at Dayton Children's Hospital, according to her obituary, which indicates the 6-year-old's funeral and burial is Wednesday in Celina.

The child’s father, Marcus Merrick, is serving 10 years in the Chillicothe Correctional Institution. He was sentenced Nov. 15, 2011, after pleading no contest to felonious assault and child endangering charges in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

Prosecutors said Joani Merrick was born premature and that she was the size of a newborn when her father hurt her.

Police said Marcus Merrick, now 35, first injured his daughter in April 2011 in a Kettering, Ohio, apartment. Then in May 2011, police said he did it again, giving her multiple broken ribs, two broken legs, retinal hemorrhages and hematomas.

At the time of Marcus Merrick’s sentencing, prosecutors said that if the child should die, they would pursue murder charges against him.

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