Authorities ID suspect arrested in connection to death of Barnha - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Authorities ID suspect arrested in connection to death of Barnhart, MO child

William A. Harris (Source: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office) William A. Harris (Source: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office)
BARNHART, MO (KFVS) -

Authorities have released the name of a suspect in custody in connection to the death of a Barnhart, Missouri child.

Officials say the suspect, William A. Harris, 25, was arrested at around 6:41 a.m. on Wednesday in the Barnhart area.

According to Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, deputies responded to the 6600 block of Dry Creek, at the child's home, on Monday, March 7 at about 6:30 a.m.

Sheriff Boyer said the victim was identified as three-year-old Aubrey Harvey.

According to Lt. Gary S. Higginbotham, the media coordinator with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, there were obvious signs of injury.

Earlier this week police identified Harris as the last known person to have cared for the child before the victim's discovery, according to authorities.

According to the probable cause statement, after being arrested, Harris told authorities that he was using heroin mixed with NyQuil while babysitting the child.

While giving Aubrey a bath, Harris reportedly became angry at the child's constant crying.

Harris says he then "snapped", holding the child's face under the water onto the floor of the tub. 

Moments later, Aubrey, who was apparently crying again, began asking for her mother.

Harris says he then used "all his body weight" and laid on top of the child on the edge of the bathtub, while he was directly behind her.

He then pulled her from the tub, where he described her as having a blank look on her face and stumbling around.

A little later, Harris said Aubrey began to fall down a small set of stairs, where she hit her head against the banister on either side of the stairs.

The child's breathing became labored, causing Harris to attempt CPR multiple times to no avail, while still not calling an ambulance.

Harris then allegedly abandoned the girl's body on the floor, and left.

An autopsy is still underway.

As a result of the on-scene investigation, he requested the activation of the Greater St. Louis Major Case Squad.

Harris was charged with abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death, and is currently being held on a $500,000 cash only bond.

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