James Saltmarshall had been jailed on $2 million bond and charged with murder, first-degree child abuse, and first-degree criminal sexual assault in April after his infant daughter was found dead at an Inkster, Michigan, motel. He was facing life in prison without parole.
But as of June 29, Saltmarshall is a free man: According to CBS Detroit, all charges against the 22-year-old Detroit father were dropped after a medical examiner's report revealed that 8-month-old Janiyah's death was an accident.
Saltmarshall's attorney is now claiming that his client's life has been ruined by doctors, police, and prosecutors.
"They should have never brought charges; never, ever, ever," said Lillian Diallo, Saltmarshall's attorney, as MLive.com reported.
Saltmarshall had originally been accused of raping and murdering the girl after he called 911 and reported that she was unresponsive on April 20; Janiyah later died at a local hospital. The girl's mother told authorities that when she had left the pair in their motel room to go to work that morning, the child was in good health.
At the time, police believed the girl had died from head trauma as well as injuries sustained from sexual assault.
However, the medical examiner's thorough investigation concluded that Janiyah's cause of death was asphyxia; she had suffocated when Saltmarshall accidentally rolled over onto her in his sleep.
All charges against Saltmarshall were dropped last month after prosecutors recommended doing so "in the best interest of justice."
Saltmarshall—who missed his daughter's funeral and still doesn't know where she's buried—was released June 29 on a GPS tether. Diallo said he was "sad" and will seek counselling.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, every year over 3,500 babies in the U.S. die suddenly while they're sleeping, usually as the result of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or accidental suffocation. You can learn more about safe cosleeping habits here here.