WESTGATE – A Westgate man has been arrested for allegedly killing an infant he was looking after in April 2018.
Court records indicate Dean Alan Hettinger, 22, and his girlfriend were looking after her relative’s 4-week-old child, Holten Patrick Smith, on April 29, 2018, when the baby was taken to the hospital and later died.
Hettinger was arrested Thursday for first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death. The murder charge carries a life prison sentence without parole.
When Holton was born, he was removed by the Iowa Department of Human Services because he and his mother tested positive for methamphetamine, according to court records. The baby was placed with a relative, who was living with Hettinger at 23837 90th St. in rural Westgate, records state. The couple also was caring for their own 7-month-old son.
On the night of April 29, 2018, Hettinger and his girlfriend brought Holten to Community Memorial Hospital in Sumner because the child was having seizures and was unresponsive.
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The baby was transferred to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City where doctors found a brain bleed, according to court record. Doctors said the injury was likely the cause of recent non-accidental head trauma.
The child lingered in the hospital for a month and died on May 27, 2018, of the injuries, according to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.
During the autopsy, doctors found 36 rib fractures, court records state.
During initial interviews with authorities, neither Hettinger nor his girlfriend had an explanation for the injuries, according to court records.