Joshua Anderson, 25, of Garfield was arrested Monday (Aug. 19) in connection with the death of Sephylia Rose Fuls, known as Sophie, said Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith.
According to a probable cause affidavit, along with a long bruise on Sophie's left eye, a laceration on her chin and a bruise on her forehead, an officer called to the hospital noticed what appeared to be a healing burn mark under her chin.
Veronica McCoy, Sophie's mother, told investigators that she was unsure how the toddler got the suspected burn mark, but that "it looked as if someone had put a cigar to Sephylia's neck."
Investigators then interviewed both McCoy and her boyfriend, Anderson.
According to the affidavit, McCoy left her three children with Anderson while she quickly ran to the store to pick up beer on Sept. 4, 2018.
Upon her return, McCoy said she found Anderson holding her 5-year-old son saying "look what you did to your sister," while Sophie was lying on the bathroom counter.
McCoy said Anderson then told her that the 5-year-old "tried to kill Sephylia," according to the affidavit.
The affidavit states that Anderson tried to perform CPR on Sophie while McCoy called 911. Sophie died after being rushed to the emergency room.
McCoy also told investigators that Sophie had fallen down four stairs next to their apartment earlier that day, but said she didn't notice any injuries at the time.
Anderson told investigators that while McCoy was gone, he walked into the bedroom and found Sophie on the floor and the 5-year-old crying on the bed.
He told investigators that the 5-year-old admitted to pushing Sophie off of the changing table. Anderson also said that he carried Sophie into the living room and that's when Veronica arrived, according to the affidavit.
After officers confronted Anderson about his and McCoy's stories not being the same, he admitted that he had been drinking that night and apologized if he didn't remember everything.
According to the affidavit, officers interviewed the 5-year-old boy, who said: "Josh hurt my sissy and sissy got dead, Josh got a knife on her." He also stated that "Josh beat the s*** out of sister."
After an autopsy, it was revealed that Sophie had a large laceration on her liver, six fractured ribs, a fractured skull and brain swelling. The cause of death was multiple blunt force traumas. It was also discovered that Sophie had previous fractures to her right arm.
The affidavit states that on Jan. 31, Anderson admitted to McCoy that while she was at the store on Sept. 4, 2018, he kicked Sophie twice, punched her and picked her up and slammed her to the floor.
He said it was an "accident" and that he "didn't mean to kill her."
Homer Randall, the child's grandfather, spoke to 5NEWS shortly after the girl's death about his concerns.
Sophie was two weeks away from her second birthday.
"We were in the middle of planning her birthday at the time this all happened," he said.
Randall told 5NEWS the medical examiner said the girl's skull and ribs were broken.