DAYTON, Ohio - A mother was arrested on suspicion of murdering her newborn
daughter by microwaving the baby in an oven. China Arnold, 26, was jailed Monday
on a charge of aggravated murder, more than a year after she brought her dead
month-old baby to a hospital. Bail was set Tuesday at $1 million.
"We have reason to believe,
and we have some forensic evidence that is consistent with our belief, that a
microwave oven was used in this death," said Ken Betz, director of the
Montgomery County coroner's office.
This photo provided by the Montgomery
County Sheriff's office shows China Arnold, 26, of Dayton, Ohio, after she
was arrested and charged, Monday, Nov. 27, 2006, with aggravated murder in
the death of her three week old daughter, Paris Talley, in
He said the evidence included high-heat internal injuries and the absence of
external burn marks on the baby, Paris Talley.
Arnold was arrested soon after the baby's death in August 2005, then was
released while authorities investigated further. Betz said the case was
difficult because "there is not a lot of scientific research and data on the
effect of microwaves on human beings."
The death was ruled homicide by hyperthermia, or high body temperature. The
absence of external burns ruled out an open flame, scalding water or a heating
pad as the cause, Betz said.
Arnold's lawyer, Jon Paul Rion, said his client had nothing to do with her
child's death and was stunned when investigators told her that a microwave might
have been involved.
"China - as a mother and a person - was horrified that such an act could
occur," Rion said.
The night before the baby was taken to the hospital, Arnold and the child's
father went out for a short time and left Paris with a baby sitter, Rion said.
The mother didn't sense anything out of the ordinary until the next morning,
when the child was found unconscious, Rion said.
Arnold has three other children.
In 2000, a Virginia woman was sentenced to five years in prison for killing
her month-old son in a microwave oven. Elizabeth Renee Otte claimed she had no
memory of cramming her son in the microwave and turning on the appliance in
1999. Experts said that Otte suffered from epilepsy and that her seizures were
followed by blackouts.