Austin Meli, 23, was arrested Thursday more than 10 months after police found his unconscious six-week-old girl at home. The girl was pronounced dead that day at Ocean Medical Center in Brick.
Prosecutors said Thursday that Meli had been taking care of the girl at the time that she became unresponsive and “as a result of the ongoing investigation, additional details surrounding [Gabriella’s] death were provided to investigators, resulting in the homicide charge being brought against Meli,” prosecutors said Thursday in a news release.
Other details about the investigation or how the girl was killed were not publicly released.
Meli is charged with first-degree murder and second-degree child endangerment. If found guilty, he faces 30 years to life without a chance at parole.
Meli was being held Thursday night at the Monmouth County jail and his attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.