Sheriff's Office: New Smyrna Beach man arrested on charge of raping 9-month-old baby

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Edwin WrenVCBJ mug / Edwin Wren, 19, is being held without bail at the Volusia County Branch Jail on charged with sexual battery of a child and aggravated child abuse, felonies that could net him life in prison if convicted.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- A 9-month-old baby girl discovered Thursday afternoon to be bleeding profusely from physical trauma to her body was sexually assaulted, Volusia County Sheriff's investigators have concluded.

That night, investigators rounded up a 19-year-old man who had been left to watch the baby. Edwin Wren is being held without bond at the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach, facing charges of sexual battery on a person under the age of 12 and aggravated child abuse. Wren was living with the baby's parents, who sometimes left him to tend to the baby, according to the arrest report.

That was the case on Thursday, when the parents left Wren with the child while they ran some errands. Just before 3 p.m., Wren went to a neighbor's house and then shortly afterwards fled the area.

"The neighbor found the baby with blood all over the bottom half of its body and bloody towels and sheets on the ground," Volusia County Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said. She scooped up the injured baby and brought it to her home and then called 911 at 2:48 p.m. to report the incident, the spokesman added.

"My neighbor came down the road to get me because he's watching this baby," the distraught woman told a Sheriff's Office dispatcher. "...I went in there to check on the baby, and there's blood all over the diaper and it looks like the baby's been raped."

"My neighbor came down the road to get me because he's watching this baby," the distraught woman told a Sheriff's Office dispatcher. "...I went in there to check on the baby, and there's blood all over the diaper and it looks like the baby's been raped."

When deputies arrived at the home just southwest of the city of New Smyrna Beach to begin their investigation, Wren had already walked off. The baby, meanwhile, was transported by EVAC ambulance to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, where she underwent surgery to repair the tears to her body.

Deputies, with assistance from New Smyrna Beach police and a Sheriff's Office helicopter, scoured the neighborhood looking for Wren. Several hours later, deputies followed investigative leads that led them to the nearby Walmart in the NSB Regional Shopping Center on State Road 44.

With assistance from New Smyrna Beach police, a deputy found a shirtless Wren in a bathroom stall inside the store, took him into custody and turned him over to investigators with the Sheriff's Office's Sex Crimes Unit.

During questioning, Wren claimed he had left the baby alone to go to McDonald's and that when he returned, he found the baby bleeding. But Sheriff's investigators checked the restaurant's surveillance system and saw no sign that the defendant had been there Thursday afternoon.

Afterwards, Wren declined to answer any more questions and was taken to jail, where he was booked in shortly after midnight. The baby remained hospitalized Friday.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office's Sex Crimes Unit at (386) 323-3574

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper serving the Daytona Beach-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com, launched April 7, 2008, as Florida's first around-the-clock online newspaper. Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with scores of regional, state & national journalism-industry awards for nearly 100 breaking news & investigative reporting stories in Florida, New York, Massachusetts & Connecticut. The first of Frederick's three books, "Creepy Ass Cracker" (842 pages, Xlibris), hits bookstores in October 2015. The second book, "Wrestling ReWind is scheduled for publication in December 2015. The third book, "The Day NASCAR Died: 15th Anniversary of Dale Earnhardt's death in the Daytona 500," is planned for publication in February 2016.
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