Police: 20-month-old girl dies, man arrested after second abuse call in five days

MADISON, Wis. — A 23-year-old man was arrested after police officers found a severely injured 20-month-old girl at a west side apartment early Monday morning. The child later died.

Officers were sent to the 5600 block of Schroeder Road at around 2:45 a.m., where police said they found a critically injured toddler at the scene. The child was rushed to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Police said a woman was also seriously injured in a domestic-related assault. Police Chief Shon Barnes described her injuries as being consistent with blunt force trauma. She was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive. The girl’s death is being investigated as a possible homicide, though the medical examiner will need to determine how she died.

“We express our sorrow for the anguish that her and her family must be feeling now at the loss of such a precious young child,” Barnes said.

Barnes said officers were also called to a Dane County address last Thursday for a report of a possible child assault involving one of the 20-month-old’s siblings who lived in the home. The man, who police identified as Marshawn Giles, was not at the apartment when officers responded last week or he would have been arrested on an existing warrant, Barnes added. The older children were staying with their grandparents following Thursday’s incident, which police officers had arranged, Barnes said.

Barnes says he does not know why any children were left in the home after last week’s incident.

“That would be between CPS and whoever was involved,” Barnes said.

Police said Giles was taken into custody after Monday morning’s incident as a person of interest. During a news conference Monday afternoon, Barnes said he has a lengthy criminal history and that a recent Department of Corrections warrant listed him as someone to consider armed and dangerous. Officers reportedly found at least one gun inside the apartment.

Wisconsin court records indicate Giles was completing the extended supervision portion of his sentence for first-degree recklessly endangering safety, for which he’d also served a year in prison. He’d also been previously convicted of fleeing an officer and bail jumping. Past domestic abuse charges in cases were dismissed, but considered in sentencing for other charges. Most of his criminal history was prosecuted in Rock County, except for a 2015 disorderly conduct non-criminal forfeiture in Dane County where a prosecutor dismissed a misdemeanor domestic abuse battery charge.

Court records tie him to addresses in Madison and, formerly, Beloit. Police said there is no ongoing threat to the public.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to understand how someone could do something like this,” Barnes said during a news conference Monday. “It’s a painful day for the family who’s directly involved, the community, myself, who’s trying to understand why and how something like this could happen and the officers who responded to, what we consider, the worst call you can get in police work.”

Police continued to process evidence from the scene into Monday afternoon, more than 12 hours after the initial call.

“Their work will be important to get justice for a 20-month-year-old girl who was taken too far, too soon,” Barnes said.

Giles is currently being held in the Dane County Jail on one count of physical abuse of a child as well as a parole violation. He has not been formally charged as of Monday evening.

Clarification: In response to a question about past CPS involvement at the home where the toddler died, police said they had been called to a separate child assault allegation involving Giles the previous Thursday. MPD spokesperson Steph Fryer later clarified police had been called to a different address for that report, but the abuse would have happened at the same home as the one where the toddler died.