INDIANAPOLIS — The death of a 7-month-old child on Indy’s east side is being investigated as a homicide. The coroner’s office on Wednesday identified the child as Harmonnie Jones.
On Sunday morning, IMPD officers were called to an apartment complex along Linwood avenue and found Jones not breathing.
After the girl died at Riley hospital, doctors ruled Jones suffered non-accidental blunt force injuries.
“The injuries do not appear to be an accident. The coroner has ruled this a homicide. This is an active investigation,” said IMPD Sgt. Genae Cook.
It turns out, officers were also called to the same apartment in July.
Police reports show the same girl, who was one month old at the time, had a broken femur and the parents couldn’t explain why. No charges were filed at that time.
Police are now speaking to family and neighbors to figure out what led to the girl’s death.
“You know as a community we have to stand up for children in our community,” said Cook. “Our detectives in child abuse have the most difficult time in the world because their victims can’t talk to them.”
While 2022 numbers haven’t been tallied, a report from the Indiana Department of Child Services in 2021 details the number of child abuse and neglect deaths across Indiana. Statewide, 60 kids died as a direct result on caregiver maltreatment in 2021, resulting in 25 homicides. Both numbers increased compared to 2020.
“It happens far too often, not just in Indiana, but nationally as well,” said Sandy Runkle with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.
Runkle encourages families and neighbors to recognize and report signs of stress among caregivers that can lead to abuse or neglect.
“We want to be there for families and check in and see how things are going. Again, children are all of our responsibilities,” said Runkle.
Police say the 7-month-old girl also had a twin brother who lived in the apartment. That boy has been taken into DCS custody while the case is investigated.
So far, no one has been arrested in connection to the child’s death.
Anyone with information should call Detective Alisha Bernhardt at the IMPD Child Abuse Office at 317-327-3330 or email her at Alisha.Bernhardt@indy.gov. The public can also submit anonymous tips through Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477.
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the Indiana Department of Child Services’ Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline today. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. You can report abuse and neglect anonymously.
The Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline is 1-800-800-5556.
Jesse Wells contributed to this story.