Second arrest made in child abuse homicide case

Posted at 11:17 AM, Oct 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-03 13:17:40-04

PROVO, Utah -- Provo police have been working with the County Attorney’s Office to gather evidence and build a case against 30-year-old Joshua Harding.

His arrest for child abuse-homicide comes almost a year after 3-month-old Paxton Stokes was found not breathing in his grandmother’s home.

Harding was arrested Wednesday, and the child's mother, Brianna Brown, was arrested Thursday at about 5:30 p.m. Brown was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail for child abuse homicide.

According to information from the Provo Police Department, officials believe, "...that Brianna either inflicted serious physical injury that caused the infant’s death or had care and custody of the child and permitted another to commit this crime."

The trouble began on November 27, 2012. When Provo police arrived, they found Paxton unresponsive. The infant was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to court documents, the medical examiner noticed several bruises and abrasions on the baby’s face. Court documents indicate the medical examiner ruled the cause of death was the direct result of closed head trauma.

The County Attorney's Office has spent the last 10 months building a case against Harding. They sought opinions and consulted several agencies before Wednesday’s arrest.

Harding's first court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 10 in Provo.