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INKSTER, MI – A Michigan father has been accused of sexually assaulting and killing his 8-month-old daughter.

James Saltmarshall, 22, was alone with his daughter, Janiyah Saltmarshall, inside a Michigan hotel room after the child’s mother left for work last Thursday morning.

That afternoon, Saltmarshall called 911 to report Janiyah had hit her head and was unresponsive. The baby was rushed to the hospital with head trauma and rectal tearing. She died three days later.

The cause and manner of her death are still pending, county spokesman James Martinez said.

Saltmarshall changed his story a couple of times when questioned by police, first saying he got up to use the bathroom and came back to find Janiyah injured, then later saying she fell off the bed.

He had no explanations for the girl’s anal tearing, stating someone had to have crept into the hotel room and raped her while he was sleeping.

Saltmarshall was arrested and charged with first -degree murder and first-degree criminal sexual assault. While in court, Saltmarshall bawled like a baby and begged to call his mother.

Janiyah’s mother has not been charged, but she did not have custody of her daughter and police say she shouldn’t have been around her. Child Protective Services had removed Janiyah and another 3-year-old girl from her custody.

Janiyah was placed with James’ mother in Detroit, but was removed by CPS on April 17, according to Detroit Police. She says she warned everyone that this was a bad decision and that the child was not safe with her son.

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She went on to add that her son will pay for his crimes, but that he wasn’t the only one responsible for her granddaughter’s death.

“I just wanted her safe,” she said. “I didn’t need custody of her; she just needed to be in a safe environment. The environment she was in wasn’t a safe environment. DPD, CPS, DHS all failed. I think they need to be held accountable for this.”

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