PROVO — A father who police say fatally abused his baby now faces a charge of aggravated murder and a bail increased to $2 million.

Victor Gardea, 22, was charged Tuesday in 4th District Court with the first-degree felony of aggravated murder for the death of his 4-month-old baby girl.

Gardea was arrested Sept. 8 after he called 911 to report that his daughter wasn't breathing.

The child was taken to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, then later flown to Primary Children's Medical Center, where she died hours later.

Gardea told investigators that when he woke up from a nap, the child was turning blue, police said. However, doctors found evidence of severe brain trauma, broken ribs and internal organ damage, according to a police affidavit.

There was also indication of a burn on the child's left armpit and fingerprint bruising on her back, police said.

After a Provo officer testified about those injuries and others Tuesday morning, Judge Lynn Davis agreed to increase Gardea's bail to $2 million cash-only and appointed a public defender to represent him.

During the investigation Gardea told police that the baby had fallen off the dryer and that he had squeezed her and thrown her into the crib, police said.

Police said the child's mother was not at home when the alleged abuse occurred, but the Division of Child and Family Services is investigating the case.


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