A man charged in connection with the death of an 11-month-old Indiana girl found in a wooded area pleaded not guilty this week after coroner officials ruled her death a homicide.
Justin Miller, 37, appeared in court Tuesday on a charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, Fox 59 Indianapolis reported. An autopsy revealed Mercedes Lain died from blunt force injuries to the head, Marshall County Prosecutor Nelson Chipman said Monday.
Her parents, Kenneth Lain, 41, and 32-year-old Tiffany Coburn, are also charged with neglect of a dependent. Chipman said Lain and Coburn left the baby with Miller at a Plymouth motel for the weekend so they could have a "few days from the child."
The child was last seen Aug. 14.
The parents reported Lain missing the next day when Miller failed to bring her back as planned. Her body was found Aug. 18 in a wooded area of Starke County. Miller allegedly told investigators he had synthetic marijuana several times while he was watching Lain.
In court documents obtained by WTHR-TV, Lain and Coburn were described as being "uncooperative" with authorities. Miller gave conflicting accounts of his time with the baby, even saying he dropped her off with a neighbor.
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