Stepfather arraigned on murder charge in toddler’s death

Wayne Brown
A mug shot of Wayne Brown.

WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (WOOD) — The stepfather suspected in a 14-month-old’s death was arraigned on murder and child abuse charges on Friday.

Wayne Arthur-Scott Brown, 29, was arrested on Thursday and is being held at the Newaygo County Jail without bond pending a preliminary exam.

Laylah Heether
An undated photo of Laylah Heether from a GoFundMe account to help cover funeral expenses.

The investigation into Brown began after 14-month-old Laylah Heether was found unresponsive while she was at home with him on Feb. 14. One week later, Laylah died in the hospital. Investigators say she died of injuries associated with child abuse.

A doctor at Grand Rapids’ Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where Laylah was treated, reportedly concluded that “trauma is the only thing that could have caused these injuries,” according to a petition to Newaygo County Circuit Court related to the case.

The report also documented injuries to Laylah’s genitals that a YWCA sexual abuse nurse concluded were from “probable sexual abuse.”

Brown was arrested shortly after the baby’s hospitalization on a domestic violence charge. He’s accused of assaulting Laylah’s mother. He was released from jail after someone posted $1,000 for his bond on that charge.

Brown was once again taken into custody after a warrant was issued for felony murder and first-degree child abuse charges on Thursday.

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Online:

Laylah’s obituary

GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses

Justice for Laylah Facebook page