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Arrest Made In Baby's Death

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Pacific Junction Man, 22, Charged With First-degree Murder

By Joe Foreman, Editor

A 22-year-old Pacific Junction man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 13-month-old baby girl.

Mills County Attorney Eric Hansen said Colby Ray Puckett, 22, was arrested Friday and charged in the death of 13-month-old Aliyanna L. May, who died at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Shortly before 11 a.m., on Friday, Feb. 1, the Mills County 911 Communications Center received a report of an injured baby at 1101 Lincoln Ave. The caller told a 911 dispatcher the baby had fallen out of bed, according to a report at the Mills County Sheriff’s Office. Rescue personnel from Pacific Junction and Glenwood responded to the call in addition to sheriff’s office deputies.

The baby was treated at the residence before being transported to Omaha by LifeNet medical helicopter.

Puckett was arrested after a weeklong investigation by the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). An autopsy was performed earlier this week.

According to a court document signed by DCI investigator Laura Myers, Puckett, the only person tending to the child, said in an initial interview with a Mills County Sheriff's Deputy that he had placed the child on a bed to be changed when she fell off. After the child was taken to the hospital and further testing was done, it was determined that the child had more extensive injuries than previously thought,  The child had extensive injuries to her eyes and brain, which in the opinion of the treating physicians was caused by abusive head trauma and not a fall.

In a subsequent interview with investigators,  Myers said Puckett made admissions that his actions would be consistent with the medical findings. He admitted to calling a third party and not 911 shortly after causing the injuries despite the obvious signs of medical distress exhibited by the victim.

"Based upon the description by physicians as to the amount of trauma required to cause the injuries and his failure to render aid, the defendant clearly showed an extreme indifference to human life," Myers said in her statement.

Puckett is currently being held at the Mills County Jail. His bond has been set at 1,000,000.

The child's funeral will take place Saturday morning at Loess Hills Funeral Home in Glenwood.

The Opinion-Tribune will update the story in its print and online editions as additional information becomes available.