ORLANDO, Florida – The father of a 5-month-old girl was arrested, after police said the infant’s mother discovered her unconscious inside an abandoned home on Thursday.
Dekari Rashard Castell, 22, is charged in the death of his daughter Kali Dream.
The home Castell was arrested in happens to be the same previously abandoned home double murderer suspect Markeith Loyd was found hiding in earlier this year. Loyd murdered his pregnant girlfriend and an Orlando police officer.
The family was seeking shelter at the house at 1157 Lescot Lane with Castell’s mother, after they lost power during Hurricane Irma.
Kali’s mother said Castell slapped her in the face on Sept. 13 because she was unable to open a window. After the domestic violence incident, she went to her stepfather’s apartment nearby, and when she returned to the home 2 hours later, she found Kali unconscious and Castell told her the baby had started choking.
Kali’s mother immediately called 911, to report that her daughter wasn’t breathing. After attempting CPR on the child without success, paramedics took the baby to Arnold Palmer Hospital.
Baby Kali was placed on life support and died the next day at 9:02 a.m.
A brain scan revealed bleeding in the brain and several skull fractures, according to hospital records. Doctors told police that they discovered a depression on the baby’s skull, which led them to believe she had been hit.
Born on March 23, Kali was just a week short of 6 months old.
According to Click Orlando, Kali’s mother told police she had no idea how her daughter received her fatal injuries. The girl’s father, Dekari Castell, 22, initially gave a similar statement to detectives.
Castell Has a History of Abusing His Kids
But an investigation into Castell’s background revealed that almost a year earlier the Florida Department of Children and Families investigated Castell because his 4-week-old son had been admitted to a hospital with a broken femur bone. During that investigation, Castell said his son had “squirmed out of his grasp and fell” and he caught the baby by his leg, causing the break.
However, a scan helped doctors determine the femur was likely broken through child abuse. Due to lack of probable case, criminal charges were not filed against Castell.
Fearing Kali may have been a victim of child abuse, police asked Castell’s mother for help getting a “truthful statement” from Castell. Later, Castell called detectives and said the couple went to his mother’s house on Lescot Lane seeking shelter after they lost power during Hurricane Irma. Castell said that while at his mother’s home, he dropped Kali on the back of her head after “she squirmed out of his grasp,” but that it occurred on Monday, before the Wednesday 911 call.
During a third interview, investigators said Castell admitted that he punched his daughter’s head while “highly stressed” because they were without power and she wouldn’t stop crying.
Castell said after he hit the baby twice, she became quiet, according to the report. He then said he called the infant’s mother and told her to come home right away without telling her what happened.
“Dekari called (her) two more times telling her to hurry, however, he did not call 911 or anyone else asking for help,” detectives wrote in the report.
Castell was placed under arrest and initially charged with one charge of aggravated child abuse. The next day a first-degree murder charge was also filed against Castell.
In his mugshot, Castell appears to have a tattoo above his left eye that says “Kali.” His mom says he loved her, and would never hurt baby Kali.
May she rest in peace.