Man charged in infant's sexual assault death, vigil and funeral planned in Maryland

Posted at 10:53 AM, Oct 07, 2016
and last updated 2019-03-14 12:19:44-04

Benjamin Taylor made his first appearance in a West Virginia courtroom Thursday.  The 34-year-old sat stone-faced and emotionless as a magistrate read the graphic and gruesome criminal complaint.

"The injuries were consistent with a violent sexual assault."

The vicious attack happened Monday morning.  Emmaleigh Barringer's mother told deputies she woke up to find Taylor in the basement of her home with the 10-month-old.  She said her boyfriend was shirtless, had his pants unzipped and was crouching over the baby, who was naked, bloody and not breathing.

"It's truly unimaginable as to what has occurred here," said Jackson County, West Virginia Sheriff Tony Boggs.

Investigators say Emmaleigh was raped, strangled and left to die.  Taylor apparently changing his story a few times, and claiming he blacked out.

"That he did not know what the hell had happened," the magistrate said.

Emmaleigh was on life support, but was pronounced brain dead on Wednesday.  She passed away that afternoon.

"I just think it's disgusting,” said neighbor Jennifer Thomas.  “I don't understand how someone could do that to a child.  Like there are a million things running through my head, it could have been anybody's child."

Family friends tell ABC 2 News the infant's mother moved to West Virginia from Pasadena this past summer, and she had only been dating Taylor a short time.         

Loved ones are heartbroken and devastated.  No one wanted to speak on-camera Friday, but online the family calls Taylor a monster, saying he disguised himself as a caring and supporting friend.  They're still processing the brutal crime, and asking for prayers and privacy.

A candlelight vigil for Emmaleigh is being held Friday at 7PM at the Riviera Beach Community Park at 131 Meadow Road in Pasadena, MD.  You are asked to bring your own candles, lanterns or balloons to remember the baby.

A viewing for Emmaleigh will be held next Sunday, October 16th at McCully Polyniak Funeral Home in Pasadena from 3PM to 5PM and 7PM to 9PM.  Services are set for Monday, October 17th at 10AM at the funeral home.  Emmaleigh will be laid to rest at 12PM AT Glen Haven Memorial Park in Glen Burnie, MD.

At last check, a Go Fund Me page has raised more than $32,000 in the last three days.  The donations will help lay Emmaleigh to rest, and go to support the baby's mother and siblings.

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