Police Say Man Killed 11-Week-Old Daughter
Joseph Urquia, 21, charged with causing fatal injuries
Joselynn Urquia was born 11 weeks ago, on Oct. 22, at St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill.
She was pronounced dead earlier today at another local hospital, Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest, which has a pediatric trauma unit. She'd been there for two days suffering from severe head injuries.
Those injuries are now a matter for the Easton police, who have charged Joselynn's father, Joseph, with criminal homicide. Police say he punched Joselynn twice in the head because she wouldn't stop crying.
Joseph Urquia, 21, of 24 N. 7th St., sat with his head hung and his hands cuffed behind him Tuesday afternoon as District Judge Gay Elwell read the charges against him. He gave quiet, clipped responses, and only really looked up when Elwell noted that a person charged with homicide could face the death penalty if convicted of first degree murder.
Urquia has been charged before with child abuse. The Morning Call reports that last year, he pleaded guilty to simple assault after he spanked his other daughter so hard that he raised welts on her backside.
According to police, the investigation began Sunday, when workers at Easton Hospital called to report that a baby had been brought in with serious head injuries. Police spoke with Urquia, who told them he accidentally dropped his daughter in the bathroom.
But on Monday, when investigators spoke to Urquia again, he allegedly told them he hit the baby at least two times.
"Joseph stated that he was frustrated and angry because the baby would not stop crying," the affidavit of probable cause states.
This second interview was conducted with Urquia at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg, but police declined to say after the arraignment why Urquia had been at the hospital.
Under the law, a person charged with homicide cannot receive bail, so Urquila was sent to Northampton County Prison. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for next week.
No one answered the door at the Urquia home, a fairly well-maintained brick two-story just off Northampton Street. There was nothing to identify the family at the house except for a makeshift address label on their mailbox. It showed a cartoon bird from the movie Up, and read "This Disney movie's owner is the Urquia family."
His page also talks about his interests, which he lists as "working, studying in college to be someone in the future and give my baby all the things I didn't have when I was a baby or a kid growing up."