Charges upgraded in baby's death

MYRTLE BEACH -- Horry County police upgraded charges against a Portsmouth, Ohio, man after his 5-week-old baby died earlier this week.

Miles L. Ferguson, 24, was being held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center on a single count of assault and battery with intent to kill. Authorities charged that he abused his child.

However, Horry County police upgraded the charge to homicide by child abuse. His daughter, Mylee Ferguson, died Thursday at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Ferguson will likely have a bond hearing Monday morning before a Circuit Court judge at the jail, Deputy Solicitor Fran Humphries said.

An investigation revealed that the baby "suffered injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome," according to a release from Horry County police.

Horry County Coroner Robert Edge said an autopsy performed on the child Friday at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston revealed she died of a closed head injury.

"The brain suffered an injury internally, where usually there's some type of hemorrhaging," Edge said. "I think there are some things that will come out eventually, but that's all we can say for right now."

Ferguson "did without just cause or provocation, assault the victim by shaking the infant with enough force to cause nonaccidental brain trauma," according to Ferguson's arrest warrant.

The father and daughter were alone together at the time of the incident, the warrant states. Officials at MUSC alerted Horry County police of the suspicious nature of the baby's injuries.

Authorities initially responded to a medical call at a condo on Lands End Boulevard, located in unincorporated Horry County between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, on Sunday afternoon. The baby girl was taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical before being flown to Charleston.

Ferguson was vacationing with his wife, Ashley Ferguson, and their baby at the time of the incident, according to the Portsmouth Daily-Times. It was unclear where the mother was when the child was injured.

Contact JOSH HOKE at 626-0318 or jhokethesunnews.com.