Couple claim that their cat killed their 10-day-old daughter

NEWS AND COMMENT: A Virginia couple have been charged with the homicide of their 10-day-old daughter, Raven, but they claimed that her death was caused by the family cat who they say was sitting on her neck when they discovered her.

Couple claim that their cat killed their 10-day-old daughter. The father Mathew Sebolka
Couple claim that their cat killed their 10-day-old daughter. The father Mathew Sebolka. Police photo dressed up.

Elizabeth Sebolka
Elizabeth Sebolka. Police photo.

Matthew and Elizabeth Sebolka are being held in jail pending the outcome of the investigation. The father claimed that his daughter was sitting in a car seat at the time that he went to a bathroom. When he returned, he said that the family cat was sitting on their daughter's neck. The news media does not explain how this indicates that the cat killed their daughter but judging by the statement he appears to be implying that bruising to the baby's head, a fractured skull, and other suspicious injuries consistent with child abuse were caused by the innocent family cat.

It appears to have been a desperate attempt to pass off their alleged fatal child neglect and abuse on their cat. Raven was taken to the VCU Medical Centre which is local to this family because she had a rash and her eyes were puffy. It is reported that they went to the hospital in a public bus which seems unusual because they have a car seat but apparently no car or no functioning car.

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An autopsy was carried out and the Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was homicide. The father was taken into custody just after 7 PM on Monday by detectives attached to the Richmond Police Department together with US Marshals working with the agency's Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Specifically, he was charged with abuse and neglect of a child causing serious injury and further charges may be placed against him.

Elizabeth Sebolka, the mother, was arrested just after 9 PM on Monday and charged similarly as well as making false statements to police which I presume partly relate to the claim that the family cat killed their child.

They are due to attend court on September 21 at 10:50 AM. A lawyer chipped in to say that they will have an uphill struggle to defend themselves.

Criminal records indicate that the father had previously been charged with animal cruelty in Richmond. The charges were dropped but he was found guilty on three separate accounts of inadequate care of an animal by their owner.

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