DuPont dad charged with murder after injured baby dies

A baby who prosecutors say was critically injured by her father has died from her injuries, and the charge against the father has been stiffened.

Bella Cowart died April 16, a day before she would have turned 2 months old, the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office said Tuesday. The cause of her death is pending, the office said.

Prosecutors have amended a charge against the baby's father, 30-year-old Dwayne Cowart, from first-degree child assault to second-degree murder. In the updated charging papers, prosecutors say that March 29 medical scans suggest Bella was "slammed or thrown into something," as opposed to initial indications that she was shaken.

Cowart's bail was increased to $1 million, from the $500,000 initially set. He remains in the Pierce County Jail, pending trial.

According to the original charging papers:

Cowart, a specialist in the 42nd Military Police Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, called 911 on March 24 to say Bella was unresponsive at their DuPont home in the 1600 block of Sequalitchew Drive. Cowart did CPR on the baby until help arrived.

Her injuries included a brain hemorrhage, a broken femur and rib fractures. Some injuries were new; others had started to heal.

Cowart first told police he didn't know what happened to the baby. Then he said he had flipped his daughter over in his arms with one hand and given her Tylenol when she started screaming. Because of the screaming, he told police, he guessed that's when an injury would have happened.