published Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Hamilton County Judge sends homicide charge in death of infant to grand jury

A local judge has sent the Hamilton County grand jury a criminal homicide charge against a 28-year-old Harrison woman in the death of her infant niece.

Jessica Fax faces the charge after the death of 3-month-old Mia Elizabeth Fry.

Police say Fax was caring for her niece on Oct. 9 at the girl's Harrison home when the infant sustained blunt force trauma injuries. A Hamilton County medical examiner’s report found five large skull fractures on the infant.

Judge Johnny Houston, who oversaw the hearing for Sessions Court Judge Ronald Durby, who has temporarily left the bench for health reasons, sent the case to the grand jury.

On Monday in front of Houston, Fax quietly spoke with her appointed attorney, Assistant District Public Defender Alan Dunn. Throughout the hearing she sat slumped in her chair, looking at the floor.

Mia’s father, Jeremy Scott Fry, testified that, after he came home from work about 7 a.m. on Oct. 9, he went to check on his daughter and noticed she wasn’t moving. When he undid the swaddling blanket, the infant felt cold, he said. Saying, “Oh no, no, no,” he picked her up and took her to the living room to begin CPR, he testified.

Fax never said told either of Mia’s parents that anything had happened, but later told police that she dropped the girl, fed her and put her to bed. The area where Fax claims to have dropped her in the home was padded and carpeted and could not have cause the injuries, according to the medical examiner.

Fax is being held in Bradley County Jai on a $125,000 bond. She was moved to the facility because Mia’s mother and father work at Silverdale Detention Facility, where female inmates are typically housed in Hamilton County.

For more details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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