January 13, 2006

Two Arrested in Death of Fort Irwin Girl

By Desert Dispatch, Barstow, Calif.

Jan. 13--FORT IRWIN -- A Fort Irwin soldier and his wife were arrested this week following an investigation into the death of 2-year-old Xavier Payne last April, according to a Sheriff's Department press release.

Army Spc. Xavier Smith, 26, the victim's father, was arrested Wednesday at Fort Irwin on a child abuse warrant, and booked at the San Bernardino County Jail in Barstow,

according to the release.

His wife, Monica Smith, 23, the victim's step-mother, was arrested Tuesday in Virginia Beach, Va., on a manslaughter and child abuse warrant issued by the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, the release stated.

The investigation has been ongoing since the child's death on April 14.

According to the release, Xavier Smith brought the non-responsive child into the Weed Army Community Hospital at Fort Irwin, where she was pronounced dead at 3:24 p.m.

The investigation by the Sheriff's Department Homicide Detail, Sheriff's Specialized Investigations Division, Barstow Sheriff's Deputies and the coroner's office revealed that the little girl suffered from a metabolic disorder, which prevented her body from breaking down fatty acids to make energy.

According to reports, the 2-year-old had been sick and was not eating in the days before her death, and her health declined to a point where she needed medical attention, but none was sought.

The release states the metabolic disorder was the primary cause of death, but that neglect possibly played a role in the girl's death.

During the investigation, other non-life threatening injuries were found on the child, which warranted the child abuse charges.

Both Xavier and Monica Smith were living on the base when the child died. Monica Smith moved to Virginia during the course of the investigation.


Copyright (c) 2006, Desert Dispatch, Barstow, Calif.

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

For information on republishing this content, contact us at (800) 661-2511 (U.S.), (213) 237-4914 (worldwide), fax (213) 237-6515, or e-mail [email protected]