A 28-year-old man is charged with murder in connection with his 2-month-old daughter’s death.
Steven Strahm was initially charged with child neglect and aggravated child abuse in December. The medical examiner ruled Tuesday that the infant’s death was a murder, and Strahm is now charged with second-degree murder.
According to a judge’s order that denied bond, Strahm is accused of throwing his daughter, identified by loved ones as Scarlet, “against a wall four or five times” in early December “with a great amount of force” and then dropped her on her head and failed to seek medical attention.
According to the order, the infant suffered head injuries and seizures and “her physical examination revealed evidence of both physical abuse and neglect.”
Scarlet's mother says she never suspected any abuse from the baby's father. Scarlet spent 2 weeks in hospice suffering brain injury and passed away in January. her message to every mother: "hug your baby tight for me tonight" @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/pNQpBNSFEn— Brittany Muller (@BrittMullerNews) March 17, 2021
The baby’s mother is grieving and said Wednesday that she was not in a state to talk, but she did exchange several messages with News4Jax. She shared that the three lived together in a Southside apartment complex. She said she woke up on Dec. 12 to her baby having a seizure and rushed her to a hospital.
The infant spent two weeks in hospice and died Jan. 3. Scarlet’s mother said her baby was cremated.
The mother also shared a message to other moms: “Hug your baby tight for me tonight.”
Her sister and Scarlet’s aunt, Brittany Kilzer, said her sister met Strahm online and the two had been dating four months prior to her getting pregnant. Kilzer said her sister never argued or complained about her relationship. Kilzer said the two briefly moved to Ohio and then returned to Jacksonville before her sister gave birth.
“As far as myself and my entire family saw, we as sought him as being a good dad,” said Kilzer. “We never saw any questionable behavior.”
Kilzer told News4Jax they are all very stunned when they learned what had happened. Kilzer said her sister called her in the middle of the night on Dec. 12 after taking Scarlet to the hospital.
“She had said they run a brain scan on her and they came in and they told them both that they had found bleeding on both sides of Scarlet’s brain,” Kilzer said.
Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser, a family friend of the baby’s mother, said the victim doesn’t have a voice, so that’s what she’s trying to do -- give Scarlet a voice.
“This just stopped everything in its tracks, and I can tell you that it reverberated to [the infant’s mother’s] family and her friends. It was just shocking,” Glasser said. “Baby Scarlet was the most innocent of all humanity. When someone injures a child, there needs to be answers and there needs to be justice.”
Scarlet’s family has set up a GoFundMe account. The family also uses the hashtag #westandforscarlet.