Gwinnett County man charged in infant daughter's death

The wife and other relatives of 22-year-old Hiker Rios declined to comment as they walked out of the Gwinnett County Jail Wednesday afternoon, but their attorney explained why he believes the young father could not have killed his own daughter, Grace Rios.

"He's never been in trouble. He's a hard-working man. You see there are pictures of him holding and kissing this baby. That's who he is a loving and generous and kind and sweet father. Hiker Rios is innocent," attorney Max Hirsch told FOX 5' Portia Bruner.

Gwinnett County Police Detective D. Laney testified during the probable cause hearing for Rios. She said Rios noticed the baby girl was fussy and struggling to breathe the night of July 1.

"He called the baby's mother and then made arrangements to take the baby to Kaiser. Kaiser transferred her to Gwinnett Medical Center and from there she went to Scottish Rite. Doctors there told me she suffered from severe brain swelling, head trauma and bleeding on the brain," Detective Laney said on the stand.

The detective said Grace's mother left Grace with Rios while she went to Kroger to get formula for Grace. But Laney said she later discovered formula in the house.

"There were some inconsistencies in their stories and based on the doctor's report and those inconsistencies, I felt we had probable cause for child cruelty charge," said Laney.

Police charged Rios with an additional felony charge of murder when Grace died on July 6. But Hirsch insists there's no evidence Rios hurt his only child.

"There was no mention of these injuries at Kaiser and no mention of these injuries at Gwinnett Medical Center. It wasn't until 2 hours later at [Children's Healthcare of Atlanta] when all of this was discovered," said Hirsh.

When pressed about whether Hirsh was suggesting medical providers were responsible for the infant's fatal injuries, Hirsh would only say is, "All I can tell you is Hiker Rios is innocent."

The detective said in court an expert in shaken baby syndrome was the first doctor equipped to do a thorough test and examination of the baby.

"The doctor noted the head injuries were severe and there were also bruises on her hips," said Laney.

Rios was being held in the Gwinnett County Jail Wednesday evening awaiting a bond hearing.

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