James Lee Saltmarshall

James Lee Saltmarshall, 22, the Detroit father accused in April of murdering and raping his 8-month-old daughter, Janiyah Saltmarshall, and held on $2 million bond, has been cleared on all charges after the Wayne County, Mich., Prosecutor’s Office determined that the charges were “erroneous,”

Nearly two months after Saltmarshall’s eight month old daughter Janiyah died, The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, ruled the death an accident.

Saltmarshall’s mugshot, along with allegations he beat and caused tearing to his daughter’s rectum had already spread widely on TV, in print and on the Internet.

Saltmarshall maintained his innocence, when he was arraigned on April 24, 2017, he was in tears and clearly distraught; at one point, the 22-year-old begged to call his mother.

On April 20, 2017, Saltmarshall called 911 from the Alpine Motel in Inkster, Mich., where he had been staying, to report that his daughter wasn’t breathing. The child’s mother had gone to work, and he was alone in the room with the little girl.

Saltmarshall performed CPR on Janiyah until police and paramedics arrived. Once they got there, the baby was rushed to the hospital, where she was eventually revived. She was then transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan and, after being listed in critical condition, died a few days later, on April 23.

Saltmarshall’s attorney, Lillian Diallo, spoke on this matter, “They should have never brought charges; never, ever, ever. There was no evidence of sexual assault; there was no evidence of a skull fracture; there was no evidence of shaken baby syndrome; there was no evidence at all behind the charges.”

Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office said in a statement;

After an extensive investigation and based upon the June 16, 2017 report from the Wayne County Medical Examiner, it has been determined that the cause of death of the child was asphyxia and the manner of death was determined to be an accident. Mr. Saltmarshall and his daughter were determined to have slept adjacent to each other on an adult sized bed and upon waking Mr. Saltmarshall found the child unresponsive. 

According to Laura Croff, spokeswoman for the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, Janiyah died of asphyaxia due to “overlay,” and the determination was made June 12, based on death records. 

But the revised explanation that prosecutor stated is a far cry from what the Inkster police said happened.

“Saltmarshall denied initially that Janiyah had fallen. He said he attempted to pick her up and shook her in an attempt to wake her,” Inkster Police Lt. Jeffrey Smith said at the arraignment, according to WJBK-TV, Fox 2 News. “As the interview progressed, (Saltmarshall) said Janiyah initially slipped off the bed on the floor, and struck her head. Throughout the interview, Saltmarshall denied any responsibility in touching and damage to the anus.”

Saltmarshall told Fox 2 News he fell asleep on a bed in an Inkster hotel room with his daughter in his arms. When he awoke, she wasn’t breathing. He immediately called 911. 

“In this case there was compelling evidence from the treating doctors that there was injury to the child that was a sexual assault and later when the child died a homicide,” Maria Miller, an assistant prosecutor and spokeswoman said. “… The treating emergency medical doctors and other health professionals met with the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office and it was determined that the initial conclusion of a sexual assault and a homicide was erroneous.” 

Saltmarshall declined request for interviews. His attorney say he’s not ready to speak publicly on Thursday, and is “sad” and in need of counseling. He missed his daughter’s funeral, and as of Thursday, still hadn’t been able to learn where she’d been buried.

“How do you get rid of the smear … ” Diallo said. “There are people who will believe it forever and ever. 

“It’s on the Internet … that he’s a baby rapist and the murdered of his child, so everything else is just a footnote.”


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