A father in Kansas faces charges of first-degree murder and aggravated arson after a fire killed his infant child.
Nicholas Adam Ecker, 28, was arrested and charged in connection with the fire in Johnson County Court on Monday, according to local media.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the fire that started early Sunday morning. It occurred near West 69th Terrace and Larsen Lane in Shawnee at around 1:00 a.m. local time on Sunday.
Investigators said the baby was pronounced dead at the scene and there were no other people injured in the fire, according to a Fox 4 report.
When firefighters arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames. The Shawnee firefighters called for help from Overland Park and Consolidated Fire District No. 2 to help put out the fire, according to a KMBC 9 News report.
“Our hearts go out to the family,” Shawnee Fire Department Deputy Chief Corey Sands said following the fire. “Shawnee is a tight-knit community. Our hearts go out to everyone.”
Fox 4 reported that the family said the baby’s father, Ecker, was initially facing misdemeanor charges for breaking a protection order earlier this February. The woman he was supposed to refrain from seeing was the infant’s mother.
Cory Holmes, who told Fox 4 that he knew the family and grew up going to daycare at the home, placed a stuffed animal at the makeshift memorial outside the burnt-down house.
“Just shock and awe. I never thought I’d see anything like this happen to the family, they are a great family,” said Holmes.
Ecker’s bond is set at $1 million and he is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.
A GoFundMe page was set up on Monday by Jackie Phelps who says she is a family member of the deceased infant. The page has a goal of $5,000 and at the time of writing has received $4,615 from 59 donations.
“Please please please keep our family in your prayers. We need it badly,” read a message posted by Aunt Jackie on the GoFundMe page.
“My beautiful baby nephew has gained his wings. We love you Junior.
“Junior was so precious and such a good boy. He was Karlie’s best friend and helped her go through hard times.
“Please pray for my sister, Karlie and her two kiddos, Ivan and Angelina. They have lost all of their belongings too from this horrific house fire.
“Our family has gone through hard times lately but we will overcome. Thank you all for your support and love. Any cents counts and will help tremendously. We love you all.”
The Shawnee Police Department and Fire Department are conducting a joint investigation into the deadly house fire.
The Shawnee Police Department asked that anyone with information call the Department at 913-631-2150 or the Tips Hotline at 816-474-TIPS(8477).
Newsweek has contacted the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office for comment.