A 3-year-old girl was killed early Sunday in a St. Paul apartment and police said they have arrested the parents while continuing to figure out how the child died.
The child was found in the porch of the family's residence in the 1000 block of E. 3rd Street, a residential area in the city's Dayton's Bluff neighborhood, police said.
Five other children in the home, ranging in age from 9 months to 11 years, were turned over to Ramsey County Child Protection, police said.
According to police:
The father called police but hung up. Officers arrived about 2:30 a.m.; the father told them his daughter was on the back porch.
Officers located the girl unconscious and unresponsive. St. Paul fire paramedics responded and pronounced her dead.
The girl's mother, 29, and father, 42, were taken to police headquarters to be interviewed. They were then booked into jail on suspicion of murder and await charging. The Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects before they are charged.
Forensics investigators were going over the scene "to find physical evidence that will tell the story of what led to this death," a police statement read.
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner will identify the victim and determine an exact cause of death.
The death marks the city's first homicide of the year and the second of a young child in the city in less than three weeks.
On Dec. 23, 2-year-old Jayse Damir Wilson fatally shot himself in the forehead in an apartment in the 850 block of Rice Street. Earl Williams, 39, of St. Paul, had left the gun unattended, according to manslaughter charges.
"Unfortunately, and tragically, we ended 2020 with the death of a 2-year-old. And now here we are in 2021, beginning with a death of a 3-year-old," Sgt. Mike Ernster, a department spokesman, said in an interview Sunday.
Ernster called it the type of case that is "very impactful for everybody that touched that case. It's something that doesn't leave you anytime soon," he said.
"It's tough," he said. "There's a lot of things going on in the world right now and if parents are feeling stressed, and it's something that's coming down to affecting their family, especially their children … reach out for help, reach out to a family friend, reach out to a trusted organization, or call 911 and express what you're going through and ask for help."
St. Paul reported 34 homicides in 2020, tying 1992's record of 34. The city had 31 homicides in 2019.
Staff writer Kim Hyatt also contributed to this report.