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Police: Man arrested for the murder of 1-year-old in Fort Smith

Jared Ball is facing first-degree murder charges in connection to the death of a one-year-old child.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — A man has been arrested for the alleged murder of a one-year-old child in Fort Smith.

According to a redacted police report, officers were called to an apartment on North 50th Street on Jan. 20, 2022, around 8:20 a.m. to respond to a child not breathing.

When officers arrived, they found Jared Ball along with a one-year-old, a three-year-old and a five-year-old child. The report states that the one-year-old was in "extreme distress." The child was taken to Mercy Hospital and pronounced dead at 9:09 a.m.

The report states that there were bruises on the child's ribcage that were consistent with violent shaking that occurred on Jan. 19. According to the medical examiner, the child's cause of death was multiple injuries believed to be from a homicide. 

The medical examiner reported that "there was at least one forceful blow to the front of the chest which caused a laceration of the heart and hemorrhage into the pericardial sac," stating that was the injury primarily responsible for the child's death.

The medical examiner advised investigators that the injury to the heart could not have been caused by a fall or by the child rolling off of the bed and striking a bedside table. He also stated that a five-year-old child could not have caused the injury.

No further details surrounding the child's death have been released at this time, but Ball was arrested and faces first-degree murder charges. 

During the death investigation, officers found a bag with almost 40 grams of suspected Kratom, also known as mitragynine, in the kitchen cabinet of the apartment that Ball shared with his girlfriend and children. The girlfriend told investigators that Ball is addicted to the drugs and is abusive towards her. 

After talking with his girlfriend, investigators said they discovered that Ball had physically abused her three times in the past few months, with the most recent time being about seven weeks ago. She said Ball punched her in the rib cage, causing her to have pain that lasted more than a month. She said that he's also choked her in the past and threatened to kill her. 

Along with the murder charge, Ball faces third-degree domestic battery, aggravated assault on a family or household member, possession of mitragynine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He is currently being held on a $500,000 cash bond.

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