Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a correct age of the child who died.
The man arrested in the death of his 11-month-old daughter originally told police he accidentally dropped her in the swimming pool at an Albuquerque hotel Tuesday morning but later confessed that he left her unattended for hours, strapped to a car seat in the bathroom.
Moses Johnson III, 39, faces a charge of child abuse resulting in death.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, police responded to the San Mateo Inn and Suites at 2424 San Mateo NE, north of Interstate 40 around 10:30 a.m. for reports that a baby had drowned.
Paramedics were unable to revive her, and the baby was pronounced dead at the scene.
Johnson told police he was playing with the girl beside the pool and “throwing her up into the air” when she fell into the water.
Police say Johnson told them he jumped in to save the girl, but video surveillance showed nobody was near the pool except for a maintenance worker.
Witnesses reported seeing Johnson leave his motel room with the baby in his arms. Medics noticed bruising on her head and one told police that the child’s injuries were not consistent with what Johnson said happened.
A hotel guest told a detective he heard a baby crying and banging noise coming from Johnson’s room.
Then Johnson changed his story.
According to the complaint, he said his daughter was recently diagnosed with bronchitis. He said he partially strapped the baby into a car seat, turned the shower on to “steam the room” and left her on the toilet seat. He then had sex with a woman in the other room and fell asleep.
Johnson told detectives he woke up hours later and found the baby facedown in the tub. Johnson said he lied because he didn’t want people to think he “killed his daughter” and his “life was over.”
This is the third tragic incident involving a child in the past five days. Thursday night police say a 5-year-old girl was beaten to death by her father in a southeast Albuquerque apartment. And on Sunday evening an 8-year-old girl was shot and critically injured in a northeast Albuquerque home.
“It’s the same guys that have been working very diligently for the last five days,” Drobik said, referring to the Crimes Against Children Unit detectives.