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‘It’s devastating’: El Paso man charged with murder of 1-year-old baby was friend of the family

EL PASO, Texas -- An El Paso man who is charged with murder in the recent death of a one-year-old boy was a friend of the family, according to a relative who spoke with ABC-7 on Tuesday.

24-year-old Marvin Lake was arrested last week and charged with capital murder for allegedly killing Ahren DeHart, who was only 13-months-old.

Police said Lake was babysitting several young children earlier this month while the children's mothers were at work. When the women returned, investigators said they found the one-year-old boy unresponsive.

"Everyone just assumed that they just dropped their baby off some random person they didn't know and it's just so incorrect," said Lawrence DeHart, great-uncle to baby Ahren.

DeHart said Lake was in Army with his nephew, Brandon DeHart. Also, baby Ahren's mother was a coworker of Lake's fiancé. He said Lake had taken care of his nephew's baby from time-to-time and on the day of April 12, the couple's usual babysitter wasn't available.

"They had no reason to ever suspect that this man that they were comfortable with would beat their child to death," DeHart said. "It's absolutely devastating, you know (the parent's) world was surrounded around Aaron's life and you know, you walk in their apartment, and it's full of his stuff. It's just so it's so heartbreaking," DeHart said.

According to a police affidavit obtained by ABC-7, Lake admitted to performing some wrestling moves on the toddler when the boy hit his head on a futon and fractured his skull. The boy died at a hospital on April 16, unable to recover from multiple injuries including lung damage and abdominal injuries.

"They're their babies in this world," DeHart said about the parents of the toddler. "These children had to hold their baby in their arms while the doctors unplugged him from everything, and he took his last breath in their arms," DeHart said. "I mean, it's devastating. We were there. We watched, I was there. We were all devastated, we cannot begin to even wrap our heads around this and how this could happen."

The police affidavit stated Lake told police he was upset the 13-month-old boy had destroyed a pillow, so he grabbed the boy using what he described as a "tight football hold." Lake said he had anger issues and didn't realize his own strength.

Two other children who were being watched by Lake also appeared to have injuries. According to DeHart, those two children are Lake's fiancee's children, but that information has not been confirmed by police.

Lake was denied bond by a judge earlier this week and remains in the El Paso County Jail. He's due back in court in mid-May.

A GoFundMe page to help the DeHart family with funeral expenses has been set up. Click here to find out more if you want to help.

El Paso / News / Top Stories / Video

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.

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