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Man Charged With Sexually Assaulting, Killing His 19-Day-Old Daughter

Matthew Warner had reported his daughter missing Friday night, setting off a massive search that ended when he led authorities to a parked truck where her body was found inside.

Posted on January 27, 2015, at 5:52 p.m. ET

Matthew Warner was charged Tuesday with sexually assaulting and killing his nearly three-week-old daughter, Ellorah Rose Warner.

Warner, 30, faces one count each of murder, assault on a child causing death, torture, "oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years or younger" and aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Prosecutors allege that the sex assault and death occurred on Friday, hours before Warner and his wife walked into a local sheriff's station at about 9:30 p.m. to report Ellorah as missing.

The couple, who live in Newhall, north of Los Angeles, was held for questioning as deputies from three area sheriff's stations conducted an all-night search with helicopters and volunteers. The next morning, Warner led authorities to a truck parked not far from the family's home, where Ellorah's body was found inside.

The baby’s grandmother, Nan Allison — who lived with the couple — told the Los Angeles Times that her daughter went to work early that Friday and left Ellorah in the couple's bedroom.

Later that day, Allison recalled hearing unusual noises coming from the room. When the baby stopped crying, Allison thought she'd fallen asleep.

Hours later, Allison told The Times Warner emerged and appeared hyper. After noticing the baby's milk was still in the refrigerator, she tried calling her daughter, but the phone had been disconnected.

That's when she went to a neighbor's home to call police, but by then, Warner and the baby were gone.

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials told local media that the mother, who has not been arrested, was distraught but cooperating with the investigation.

On the couple's Facebook page, images of Ellorah swaddled as a newborn have become digital memorials, attracting a strained mix of outrage and sadness.

facebook.com

As for the neighborhood, residents told local media that the entire episode had left them crushed and confounded.

One of Warner's neighbors, Aurthor Allen, told NBC-LA he and his girlfriend had helped search for the baby Friday night.

"You always hope for the best and pray someone will find the baby or come forward saying 'I have the baby, I'm sorry, she's fine,'" Allen said. "I know this family must be crushed. The community definitely is."

Another neighbor told the station that Ellorah's death had "kind of put a shockwave through all of us."

Warner's criminal history dates back to 2003, when he was convicted of vehicle theft. Over the years, court records show he has been arrested on suspicion of a range of felonies, including forgery, burglary, grand theft, receiving stolen property, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

As recently as last year, Warner had either been convicted of or pleaded guilty to grand theft, DUI, evading a police officer, and three counts of vehicle theft.

Warner, who faces life in prison if convicted of all charges, is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 18. He remains in custody in lieu of $2.25 million bail.

BuzzFeed News reporter Claudia Koerner contributed to this report.

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