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Crime scene tape at the scene of a reported shooting, Tuesday, June 1, 2021, on College Drive at Bennington Avenue in Baton Rouge, La.

A Baton Rouge father was arrested Wednesday on negligent homicide, weeks after his infant daughter was found unresponsive inside a hot car and later pronounced dead.

Police reports say the man brought the baby to the doctor earlier that day, then forgot she was in the car for several hours. He told police he found out she was dead only when he went to pick her up from her caregiver the evening of Aug. 20 and realized she had been with him all along.

Kenneth Willis, 38, was booked into jail Wednesday, Baton Rouge police announced in a press release Thursday morning. He was later released on $30,000 bond, records show.

His arrest came just days after a Baton Rouge mother was arrested on the same charge after her toddler son wandered out of an apartment and fell into a nearby swimming pool at the complex. In that case, neighbors told deputies the child was often seen wandering around unsupervised and officials said the alleged pattern of negligence factored into their decision to arrest his mom.

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Willis was arrested after detectives learned he had dropped off another child with the caregiver at 2290 Oak Grove Drive the morning of Aug. 20, according to his arrest report. But he kept the baby with him because he was taking her to the doctor, instead of dropping off both children as usual.

Police said he took the infant to her appointment, but never returned to the house on Oak Grove Drive to leave her with the caregiver. Her mother and Willis then showed up to collect both children in the evening, which is when they discovered the baby unresponsive in her car seat, according to police.

Officials believe the child died from overheating inside the car.

Willis has no criminal history in East Baton Rouge besides traffic violations.


Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.