Watertown man charged after death of adopted baby

Date: 2011-03-25

by Jeremy Ryan

WATERTOWN -- A decorated Fort Drum soldier is accused of murdering a four-month-old baby he was planning to adopt.

Watertown Police say emergency crews were called to 112 West Lynde Street Wednesday morning around 1:41 a.m. because a four-month-old baby girl was found to be "unresponsive". Laurne E. Clark, who was also known as Mollie E. Sliker, was pronounced dead a short time later by medical personnel.

Thursday, the Jefferson County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on the baby, and determined her death was the result of a homicide.

"We responded the day before yesterday to a child that was unresponsive. At the time, there was no external injuries that would indicate foul play, so the medical examiner conducted an autopsy yesterday. It was found the child suffered blunt force trauma to the head," said Watertown Police Lieutenant Frank Derrigo Friday morning.

Around 2:00 a.m. Friday 23-year-old Jeffrey Sliker was arrested and charged with one count of second degree murder. Sliker and his wife were in the process of adopting Mollie.

Sliker was arraigned Friday morning in Watertown City Court and is being held at the Jefferson County Jail without bail. He did not enter a plea at his arraignment.

"In this particular case, the defendant is accused of depraved indifference murder of an infant. That's not the same as an intentional murder," said Jefferson County District Attorney Cindy Intschert.

Sliker's family members seemed surprised at the turn of events.

"I just can't see him ever physically trying to hurt her and, like, on purpose, basically" said Sliker's brother, James.

Officials say Sliker is a soldier in the 10th Mountain Division, stationed at Fort Drum. The Middletown, Rhode Island native joined the Army in 2008 and served in Afghanistan in 2009. Army officials say he has been awarded combat medals, including a Purple Heart.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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