published Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Bradley County holding homicide suspect

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    Jessica Fax, 28, faces a charge of criminal homicide after her 12-week-old niece sustained multiple skull fractures under her care, according to Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. Fax told detectives she dropped the child on the floor.

A woman accused of killing her infant niece is being incarcerated in Bradley County because the child's mother oversees employees at Silverdale Detention Center, the only facility in Hamilton County that houses women.

Jessica Fax, 28, faces a criminal homicide charge after the death of her 12-week-old niece, Elizabeth Fry, who was left in her care. The child's mother, Marianne Fry, was working as a captain at Silverdale when Elizabeth died.

"Due to the nature of the incident, we're trying to protect both individuals," said Brandi Kennedy, spokeswoman for Silverdale, which is owned by CCA, a national company that runs prisons.

She said no CCA facility would take Fax.

Hamilton County Jail accepts only male inmates.

"From time to time, we do that [hold inmates from other facilities] as a courtesy," said Bob Gault, public information officer for Bradley County Sheriff's Office, which oversees the Bradley County jail.

As of Friday, there were 54 female inmates at Bradley County out of 409 inmates total, he said.

Fax told Hamilton County Sheriff's Office investigators that she accidentally dropped the baby on the floor, then fed the infant and put her to bed. A preliminary report from an autopsy revealed numerous skull fractures showing that the baby died from blunt force trauma, possibly from multiple impacts.

According to a Hamilton County medical examiner's report, the spot that Fax said she dropped the baby had new carpet and padding and could not have caused the types of injuries found on the infant.

As of Friday, Fax had been appointed a public defender and remains in jail on a $125,000 bond.

Her next court appearance is set for Monday before Hamilton County Sessions Court Judge Ronald Durby.

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