Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on June 24, 2021, David Smith, 36, of Lakewood, was indicted by a Grand Jury sitting in Ocean County on the charge of Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), in connection with the death of his infant daughter in Lakewood Township on December 8, 2020. Smith was also indicted on a charge of Endangering the Welfare of a Child in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(2).
On December 5, 2020, Detectives from the Lakewood Township Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit responded to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood for a report of a three-month-old infant, purportedly found to be unresponsive by her father, David Smith. Smith claimed that he immediately called 911 upon finding the infant unresponsive. The infant was initially taken to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus by emergency medical service personnel and subsequently transferred to Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick for further evaluation and treatment. An examination by doctors at RWJ revealed that the infant was suffering from significant internal injuries. Further investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit and Special Victims Unit, working with the Lakewood Township Police Department and Detective Bureau, determined that Smith was at home with the infant on December 5, 2020 when she sustained her injuries.
On December 8, 2020, the infant succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased at Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. On December 9, 2020, a post-mortem examination was performed on the infant. The Ocean County Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be Shaken Baby Syndrome with blunt force trauma to the head, and the manner of death to be Homicide. Following a thorough and extensive investigation, Smith was identified as the individual responsible for the infant’s death.
On December 9, 2020, Smith was arrested at his residence in Lakewood. He was processed at Lakewood Township Police Headquarters, and has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since the date of his arrest.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Mara Brater who is handling the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Lakewood Township Police Department, Lakewood Township Detective Bureau, Jackson Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative efforts relative to this investigation resulting in today’s indictment.
The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.