published Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Aunt indicted in infant's death

  • photo
    Jessica Fax appears before Judge Johnny Houston on charges in the death of 3-month-old Mia Elizabeth Fry. Fax was caring for her niece Mia on Oct. 9 at the girl's Harrison home when the infant sustained five large skull fractures from blunt force trauma. The case has been sent to the grand jury.
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A woman accused of cracking her infant niece's skull has been indicted by a Hamilton County grand jury.

Jessica Fax, 28, is charged with felony murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect, according to true bills issued by the jury.

Fax was watching her 3-month-old niece, Mia Elizabeth Fry, while the parents were at work Oct. 9.

Jeremy Fry, Mia Elizabeth's father, discovered her cold, dead body just after 7 a.m. after Fax had watched her. The baby had been dead for at least six to eight hours.

Fax never said anything had happened to the baby and never called an ambulance after the baby suffered traumatic injuries, including five major skull fractures, authorities said.

When questioned by authorities, Fax originally said she had dropped the baby in an area where it was padded and carpeted, according to an arrest report. The baby's injuries did not match her story. It's unclear what actually happened.

The results of tissue samples still were pending at the medical examiner's office Monday. Tissue was sent off to determine the extent of internal injuries. The tests would be able to help determine whether the baby was struck multiple times on the top of the head or if she was repeatedly slammed against a surface, authorities said.

Fax has a court date set for May 1 before Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman.

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