Man arrested for daughter’s death, coroner says she died of suffocation

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. — The Peoria County Coroner said a six-month-old infant died from being suffocated, a day after her father was arrested on murder charges.

On Wednesday, coroner Jamie Harwood said sudden infant death was ruled out by police. He also said autopsy results showed the baby, Lisa Purser, suffered hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or swelling of the brain, which they related to suffocation.

The Peoria Police Department responded to the 1200 block of S Matthew St. at approximately 12:58 a.m. Sept. 8 regarding an unresponsive baby. Upon arrival, they found the infant not breathing inside the home.

Lisa Purser

First responders performed emergency medical assistance to the baby and she was transported to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in critical condition. Later that day, Lisa was pronounced deceased.

The PPD continued investigating due to “suspicious circumstances” regarding the infant’s death, which led to the arrest of her father, 20-year-old Kyle Purser. He was arrested without incident on Tuesday for murder and was taken to the Peoria County Jail.

“We did not find any evidence of blunt force trauma to this infant,” Harwood said.

The coroner also said the child was well-nourished and cared for, and there were no forms of prints on her neck, no internal hemorrhaging, and no signs of a struggle.

Lisa was born on Feb. 25 in Florence, Ala. to Purser and Susan Knapp, according to her obituary.

This story will be updated.

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