Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Dad of dead baby: Drunken fall caused death

A Hatboro man who claims he accidentally killed his infant daughter when he got so drunk he fell on her Sunday is expected to be charged with murder today.

Dad of dead baby: Drunken fall caused death

Edward Doyle, accused of killing his newborn
Edward Doyle, accused of killing his newborn

This post was updated at 1:20 p.m. to include autopsy information.

A Hatboro man who claims he accidentally killed his infant daughter when he got so drunk he fell on her Sunday was charged with murder today.

Edward James Doyle, 28, already has been charged with child endangerment in the death of 2-month-old Makayla Doyle, police said. But a pathologist on Monday ruled the death a homicide, concluding that the baby had so many injuries - multiple broken ribs, a fractured skull and nasal injuries suggesting Doyle pinched her nasal airway - that she couldn't have died the way Doyle claimed, District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said Tuesday.

Police were called to the Wellington Apartments on Horsham Road, where Doyle and his wife live, about 9:30 a.m. Sunday and found the baby unresponsive on a master bedroom bed with cuts and bruises on her face, according to an affidavit. Doctors declared her dead just after 10 a.m. at Abington Memorial Hospital.

Doyle first told investigators he returned home around 3 a.m., after spending a few hours celebrating a friend's birthday at an American Legion post in Willow Grove, where he said he drank six pints of Budweiser beer, according to the affidavit. Once home, he told police he, his wife Nicole Lavelle and some friends played a card game for an hour, while Makayla slumbered in a baby swing nearby, police said. Doyle told police that when he awoke Sunday morning, the baby was "limp" and "white as a ghost" in her baby swing, so he called 9-1-1, according to the affidavit.

But when detectives pointed out inconsistencies in his statement, he admitted he and Lavelle spent time early that morning in a neighbor's apartment, according to the affidavit. It's unclear from court records what they did there and whether they'd left Makayla and her 15-month-old sister home alone while they were gone.

Doyle told detectives that while in the neighbor's apartment, he argued with his wife about their taxes and returned home alone. There, he said, he picked up Makayla when she began crying in her swing but tripped as he walked toward the kitchen, falling onto the floor on top of her, according to the affidavit. After checking to make sure she was still breathing, he said, he put her back in the swing and went to sleep. Lavelle, the neighbor told police, returned to the family's apartment about 5:30 a.m.

When Doyle awoke and checked on the baby later that morning, she was unresponsive, according to the affidavit. Doyle told investigators he shouldn't have been caring for Makayla because he'd "drank too much," according to the affidavit.

Doyle is being held in the Montgomery County Prison on $1 million bail.

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Philly Confidential, which covers crime in Philadelphia and the suburbs, is written by Daily News staffers Dana DiFilippo, Stephanie Farr, Vinny Vella and Morgan Zalot.

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