BEDFORD, Va. —
A murder charge has been hanging over a Bedford County father since his infant daughter died earlier this year.
Tuesday, a judge dismissed Joshua Warner's case. All charges were dropped.
It's a situation where the criminal investigation didn't match up with an autopsy.
Prosecutors say they didn't have evidence to prove Joshua Warner was guilty of killing his daughter. Warner says that's because he was innocent all along.
"Don't believe everything you see on TV or read in the papers," says Warner, who believes investigators and the public were too quick to judge him.
"I just always knew I was innocent and I really would just like to get home and mourn the loss of my daughter after so much," says Warner.
His six-week-old daughter, Rowan, died in May.
The infant was at a home in Bedford with Warner and his fiancé, Ashley Breyette, who is Rowan's mother.
The two were laying in a bed with Rowan when they noticed she was turning blue. The baby girl was rushed to Bedford Memorial Hospital, where she died.
"From the very first moment, there's no way this was done by either of us," says Breyette.
At the emergency room, staff noticed what they thought were suspicious injuries. They notified the Sheriff's office, which started its own investigation.
In a search warrant, one investigator notes: "the infant's neck was broken."
"The information that we thought we had concerning traumatic injuries, or apparent traumatic injuries to the child at the time of Mr. Warner's arrest, were not borne out by the autopsy," says Bedford Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Wes Nance, who was prosecuting Warner's case.
An autopsy revealed Rowan's death was likely an accident, caused by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
"The autopsy came back with an inconclusive cause of death, but certainly not the severe trauma we thought we had," says Nance.
Warner and Breyette say the real trauma has been to their family and they're anxious to move on.
"I wish I'd been proven innocent, but I would rather it end this way than any other way," says Warner.
Prosecutors say they don't plan to pursue any other charges against Warner or Breyette for Rowan's death.
Charges have been dropped against a Bedford County father, accused of killing his six-week-old child.Joshua Warner was facing a homicide charge for the death of his daughter in May. Bedford County Judge Louis Harrison dropped the case against Warner Tuesday morning.
The action was recommended by Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney, Wes Nance, who was prosecuting the case.
Nance told Judge Harrison that the commonwealth's case was based on a criminal investigation that could not be corroborated by the victim's autopsy, which showed the girl's death was not criminal in nature.
Nance says the death was likely "a tragic accident" and says further charges will not be pursued against Warner.