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After death of 1-year-old, mother's boyfriend faces indictment
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After death of 1-year-old, mother's boyfriend faces indictment

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A Clemmons man was indicted Monday on a charge that he murdered a 1-year-old girl in August 2018 by smothering her. 

Jesse Wayne Perkins, 24, of Carrousel Drive in Clemmons, is facing a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Carolina Rose Dodd. Carolina, the daughter of Perkins' girlfriend, died on Aug. 22, 2018. According to a death certificate, Carolina died from asphyxia from being smothered. 

The autopsy report said Carolina had spots near her eyes, nose and mouth that indicated bleeding and blunt-force injuries, including contusions and abrasions, on her head, neck, chest, abdomen, one of her arms and her legs. 

The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office investigated the incident and has not released any additional information. Last year, Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O'Neill declined to comment on the case.

According to an autopsy, Perkins placed Carolina face down in a pack-and-play, a mobile mattress/bassinet, at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 22, 2018. Carolina's mother later found Carolina unresponsive and face down. EMS first-responders were called and they moved Carolina to the floor and tried to resuscitate her. Paramedics, however, found Carolina cold to the touch and rigor mortis had set in, so resuscitative efforts ended, the autopsy report said. 

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The autopsy report, citing medical records, said Carolina was born with no prenatal or delivery complications but did have a history of eczema. Her vaccinations were up to date. But she was evaluated by doctors and had gone to the emergency room multiple times, the report said.

On Jan. 31, 2018, when she came for a 9-month evaluation, doctors found an uncleaned open wound on her left big toe. Doctors did not know what caused the wound. Doctors were concerned about neglect and Forsyth County Child Protective Services was called. A skeletal study was done on Carolina that found nothing unusual. 

Carolina returned for a follow-up evaluation on March 22, 2018, and the "pediatrician had concerns for the decedent's safety and called CPS to voice her concerns," according to the autopsy report. Carolina came back to the emergency room on Aug. 18, 2018 "for evaluation of possible sexual abuse after being in the car of someone who lived with a sex offender." The autopsy report does not say whether any sexual abuse was confirmed. 

The report also said that Carolina fell down two to three carpeted steps while she was in Perkins' care. The Forsyth County Department of Social Services was alerted after "seeing bruising and recommended that the decedent get evaluated." 

Carolina was taken to a clinic on Aug. 18, 2018, about "facial bruising" that was a concern because there was a possible hand print. The autopsy report said it was recommended that Carolina stay with her mother until DSS finished the evaluation. The report doesn't say whether DSS put any restrictions on Perkins caring for Carolina. 

Perkins is being held in the Forsyth County Jail with no bond allowed. 

It was not immediately clear when he is scheduled to appear in Forsyth Superior Court. 

336-727-7326

@mhewlettWSJ

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