CHELSEA, Vt. — A Chelsea man pleaded not guilty Friday to second-degree murder in the death of his New Hampshire girlfriend’s 1-year-old daughter from head injuries.

Alexander Stolte, 19, was ordered held pending a bail hearing while the baby’s extended family watched from the courtroom. The girl’s mother cried and clutched her child’s stuffed animal.

“My daughter was my world,” MacKenzie McDaniel of Andover, N.H., said outside the courthouse as she held a photograph of her daughter.

“This little girl didn’t deserve this,” said the child’s grandmother, Janine McDaniel, also of Andover. “She will have justice. She was beautiful. We loved her.”

Police say Stolte was taking care of Kyleigh McDaniel on Wednesday night at his mother’s home in Chelsea while MacKenzie McDaniel was at work. He told police that when he carried the girl to her bed after she fell asleep on a pillow on the living room floor, he noticed that one of her eyes was drooping, according to an affidavit.

He called the girl’s mother, who he said thought Kyleigh might have a cold. He said his girlfriend told him to put the child in bed but monitor her.

MacKenzie McDaniel confirmed that Stolte had called her several times at work that night.

At 9:49 p.m., he was frantic and told her he was “freaking out” because Kyleigh was breathing funny and making weird sounds, the affidavit said. MacKenzie thought that he was overreacting and that the breathing may have been caused by the cold, she told police.

When he checked on the baby later, he noticed she wasn’t breathing and called 911 at 11:22 p.m., the affidavit said.

Kyleigh was taken to Gifford hospital in Randolph where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy showed she died of injuries to the back of her head.

Orange County State’s Attorney Will Porter told the court that preliminary autopsy results showed the baby “died of blunt injury to her head. That would have been fairly quickly not instantaneous. During the period of time that evening the only person who had custody was the defendant,” said Orange County State’s Attorney Will Porter.

Stotle told police that at one point in the evening the girl had tripped and fallen on a walker. But the judge said that explanation was not consistent with the severity of her injuries.


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