Mother’s Boyfriend Charged In Death Of 18-Month-Old Girl - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Mother’s Boyfriend Charged In Death Of 18-Month-Old Girl

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Somara Mays Somara Mays
Edward Benesch (Image courtesy Dickson County) Edward Benesch (Image courtesy Dickson County)

DICKSON, Tenn. – Officials have charged a man who they believe killed an 18-month-old girl and left her at a Dickson County home.

Family members told NewsChannel 5 that Edward Benesch was watching Somara Mays while her mother, Jill Smith, was in jail. 

Officials said Benesch, who is Smith's boyfriend, dropped the girl off at her family's home on Brookside Drive in Dickson just before 8 a.m. Thursday.

He reportedly told a relative he fell on the baby and that something was wrong with her. Relatives said he then got in his car and sped off.

The child's father, Edward Mays, was also in jail at the time. Family members said he was concerned something like this could happen and he tried to get help. He was concerned his children were being abused and had been writing letters to the Department of Children's Services from jail.

"Edward knew they were not in a good situation and he was writing children's services. He called them twice," said Somara's aunt, Angie Manley.

Smith had been in jail since February and Edward Mays since September. Smith bonded out Thursday afternoon to be with family.

Officers were able to track down Benesch a couple hours later for questioning. He was taken into custody and charged with reckless homicide and child abuse.

Bond was set at $75,000.

Somara's body was taken to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

When the scene was cleared, family members and friends stopped by the home visibly devastated and confused.

"Those kids were like mine. I was there for them when they needed someone. I was there for them when I could," said Nina Overton.

Sources said Smith was pregnant with her eighth child. Her other children were in DCS custody. 

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