SOUTH MILWAUKEE (WITI) - A South Milwaukee man and woman are charged in connection with the death of a 4-year-old girl.
Jerome Millen, 22, is charged with physical abuse of a child and repeated acts causing death, while Christina Collado, 21, the girl's mother, is charged with chronic neglect of a child with the consequence of death.
The child was identified by family members as Autumn Horak.
According to the criminal complaint, first responders were dispatched to a home in South Milwaukee around 7 a.m. on Feb. 28. When they arrived, they found a 4-year-old child that "was pulseless and not breathing."
She was wearing only a diaper and the first responders noted numerous bruises on her jaw, head, forearm, and sternum, the complaint said. She also suffered "what appeared to be a human bite mark" and a burn injury. She was pronounced dead on the scene.
According to the complaint, prior to the first responders' arrival, Millen fled the house but was arrested a short while later. Police located Millen at a friend's house and took him into custody.
When investigators questioned Millen, they told him the child was deceased. Millen responded, "So my life is over," the complaint said.
Millen "admitted to covering (the child's) mouth multiple times" in an effort to get her to sleep. The complaint also says Millen admitted, "If all the injuries caused (the child) to die, it's my fault, my fault." He added, "If she suffocated, that is my responsibility, and I killed that child.'"
When told of the child's numerous injuries, "Collado admitted that Jerome Millen Mr. was, in fact, abusing (the child)," the complaint says. She also admitted witnessing Millen bite the girl on two separate occasions.
On the morning of Feb. 28, Collado indicated to authorities that she "heard a loud banging sound." The complaint says she saw Millen forcibly trying to get the child to go to sleep and indicated that "he was going too far." Collado told police "if she properly protected (the child), (the child) would still be alive."
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office performed an autopsy and made a preliminary ruling that the girl's manner of death was a homicide.