Abuse alleged; charge of first-degree murder possible

Man, 20, accused of killing little girl

When Desiree Beck left her Delta home to go to work Dec. 22, her five-month-old baby girl seemed healthy. But when she called later that day to check in with her husband, the only person who had been with their two daughters that day, 20-year-old Daven Beck said their infant girl was limp and unresponsive.

One night later, Cady Beck, who had suffered from bleeding in the brain and in her spinal canal, was taken off life support at a Denver Hospital and died from what a host of doctors and a coroner called “non-accidental trauma” that most likely was caused by physical child abuse, according to an arrest affidavit for Daven Beck.

On Wednesday, three months after his baby’s death, Daven Beck appeared in custody in Delta County

District Court after being arrested the day before at his parents’ home on suspicion of first-degree murder. Delta District Court Judge Sandra Miller set Beck’s bond at $150,000
Wednesday, and prosecutors were given until next Wednesday to decide whether to formalize charges of either first-degree murder or child abuse resulting in death.

But at the Delta courthouse Wednesday, many people who had worshipped alongside Daven Beck at Delta’s Gunnison Valley Church of the Nazarene couldn’t fathom that the man wearing an orange jumpsuit could have killed the baby he was often seen holding in church.

“It’s just inconceivable to me,” Betty Thurman, a member of the church, said after the hearing.

“If you could see all the love the grandparents and Daven had for that baby. I just keep thinking he’s so young. I’m just so positive that he didn’t do it.”

The following information was taken from a 27-page arrest affidavit compiled by Sgt. Jesse Cox of the Delta Police Department:

Daven Beck told investigators he had put Cady down for a nap at about 1 p.m. and woke her up at about 2:30 p.m., when she began to “fuss,” to change her diaper, and she “seemed fine.”

He said he became concerned when he tried to wake her up at about 4 p.m. and she was limp. She opened her eyes, but wouldn’t move and only whined.

Daven told Desiree, who had called to check in, that “something is wrong,” and Desiree told him to take the child to the doctor or “somewhere.”

For the previous two weeks, Cady had diarrhea, and Desiree and Daven were scheduled to receive a stool kit on Dec. 22.

Daven drove the child first to a doctor, who handed him a stool kit, but Daven, who didn’t appear frantic, told the doctor, “I have another problem,” and described the baby’s symptoms.

The doctor checked the child’s heart and breathing and advised he take the child to the emergency room.

Almost immediately after walking into the emergency room lobby at about 5 p.m., nurses jumped into action after seeing Cady. They ripped open her shirt to try to discern what was wrong, placed blankets over her and rushed her into the emergency room. A CAT scan revealed the child was bleeding from the front and back of her brain and that she had a blown pupil.

The baby was soon flown to Children’s Hospital in Aurora, and family members drove there.

During the ride, family members told police, Daven talked about how he would be going to prison and that he was in trouble.

“He never asked how this happened or said anything about hoping (the baby) was alright,” the affidavit said.

Daven Beck denied any wrongdoing after being accused in a heated confrontation at the hospital by Desiree of killing Cady. He changed his story to police about how the child may have injured herself.

He first said the baby hit her head while lying on her stomach. Later he said she fell in the bathtub the day before, and he may have hit her head on a door or getting her into a car seat.

After the child died, Daven called Desiree and told her about Internet research he had done that claimed babies judged to have died from shaken baby syndrome had actually died as a result of vaccinations.

Desiree has since left Daven, and their other child was placed in foster care.

The foster mother told police the girl has shown troubling behaviors such as slamming her doll around and yelling, “Go nigh-night” and putting a blanket over its face as if to suffocate it. The guardian also reported a large bruise found on the girl’s buttocks.

Other family members later reported regularly seeing small cuts and bruises on the children, but didn’t give it much thought.

Family members and friends said they had witnessed Daven spanking the girl roughly, and Daven angered easily when the children were crying. Desiree told police he never hit her, but had shown his anger by breaking items.

An autopsy completed by Delta County Coroner Chalmer Swain indicated the child sustained a subdural hematoma. There was bleeding in her brain in her spinal canal and abrasions on her right ear, the front of her scalp and on her jaw.

The muscles in her neck were bruised from a severe extension.

All of the injuries were the result of a “multiple direct traumatic event” that “occurred in a time frame consistent with 12-22-08,” Swain said.

Swain conducted the autopsy in late February and police issued a warrant for Beck’s arrest soon after consulting with the coroner in late March.


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