An "extremely frail and thin" eight-year-old girl died and her body was discovered in a bathtub after she was allegedly tied up in a sleeping bad for wetting the bed.
Police responded to a medical emergency call around 3.45pm on Thursday, August 13, at a complex on the south side of Elk River, Minnesota, US.
Officers arriving at the scene found little Autumn Hallow not breathing and were unable to revive her.
Autumn's dad, Brett Jason Hallow, 30, and stepmum, Sarah Kay Hallow, 28, have both been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter following her tragic death, KSTP Eyewitness News reports.
Officers who found Autumn reported that she appeared "extremely frail and thin" and that her skin was dry and her hair only a little bit wet, leading them to the conclusion that she had been dead for a while.
Her father Brett and stepmother Sarah were arrested the next night.
According to the criminal complaint, Sarah told officers Autumn had said she was going to take a shower and when she went to check on Autumn 40 minutes later she found her face down in the water.
Autumn's biological mother had reportedly been denied visits to her daughter by the Hallows due to coronavirus pandemic and other concerns.
The girl's six-year-old brother told police that Brett and Sarah used a brown belt to tie Autumn up and put her in a red sleeping bag whenever she misbehaved or wet herself.
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He also told authorities that the morning Autumn died, he heard a loud bang from the bathroom when both parents were in there with his sister, according to the criminal complaint.
The complaint also detailed that Sarah's 10-year-old daughter saw blood in the tub and Autumn not breathing.
Both Sarah and Brett deny tying the girl up or putting her in a sleeping bag.
Sarah also told police she did not know where Autumn's injuries were from or why she was losing hair.
Investigators say an autopsy has determined Autumn’s death was a homicide and that the cause was determined to be from asphyxia injuries and blunt force trauma.
A GoFundMe was started by a family friend of Autumn's biological mother to raise money for funeral expenses.
"A parents worst nightmare has happened to my very good friend, Kelsey," the page reads. "She lost her 8-year-old baby girl, tragically. As everyone knows, funerals are very expensive & very stressful. The last thing I want her to be worrying about is financial issues through any of this. Anything is appreciated."
As of this weekend, a small memorial with notes and teddy bears had been put together in honor of Autumn outside the family's apartment complex, KSTP reported.
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