ELKO – An Elko man accused in the death of an infant in May was bound over to district court Thursday on open murder
Nathan J. O’Dell, 24, waived his preliminary hearing before Judge Elias Goicoechea in Elko Justice Court on Aug. 20.
He was charged with open murder in the death of a 7-month-old male and child abuse or neglect of a 4-year-old boy.
Police said O’Dell, who is unrelated to the children, was caring for them when he called 911 to report the infant was not breathing.
The baby was flown to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City where he died two days later.
O’Dell was arrested on May 12 and booked in to Elko County Jail. He remains in custody.
According to court documents filed on May 14, O’Dell was watching the children while their mother worked out of town. He told police he left the baby alone and then found hi not breathing.
He said he tried to resuscitate the baby by splashing cold water in the shower, but dropped the baby from a height of about 12-18 inches as he was turning the water on.
Medical staff at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital said the baby had multiple skull fractures indicative of “shaken baby syndrome.”
In talking with the police at the hospital, O’Dell reportedly admitted to striking the infant on the head out of frustration. He also admitted to spanking the older child for having trash under his bed.
At Primary Children’s, a doctor said the baby died from abusive head trauma resulting in brain damage.
In the criminal complaint, District Attorney Tyler Ingram said the state may seek the death penalty if O’Dell is convicted.
An arraignment date in district court is pending.
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