OSKALOOSA — Charges against a man accused of severely injuring an infant have been upgraded to murder after the infant died Friday.

Johnny Lynn Dale Jr., 21, of Sigourney (originally reported of Oskaloosa), is now charged with first-degree murder.

Oskaloosa Police in court filings said on June 16 officers were dispatched to Mahaska County Hospital in Oskaloosa for a suspected child abuse case. According to court filings, a four-month-old child was admitted to the emergency room there with seizure-like symptoms.

Dale had been left alone with the child at an Oskaloosa home and was the child’s primary caregiver, police say, from 9:30 p.m. on June 15 until 2 a.m. June 16. Dale was the boyfriend of the child’s mother.

When the mother returned home, police say the child had a bruise on its forehead, was visibly pale and would not wake up.

According to court documents, Dale told the investigators from the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation that he said he was frustrated with the baby during the night. Police say Dale told them that he was “bouncing” the baby on an air mattress in an attempt to get the baby to sleep.

Court documents say the child suffered severe brain and spinal cord injuries. The infant was taken to the Mahaska County Hospital in Oskaloosa before being airlifted to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines. The child died Friday morning, according to an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation press release.

Police arrested Dale Wednesday afternoon on a warrant near Sigourney, Iowa, and originally charged him with child endangerment causing serious injury. With the enhanced charge of first-degree murder, Dale faces life in prison if convicted. He is currently being held on a $1 million bond at Mahaska County Jail.

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