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Father charged with murder after autopsy finds baby girl’s death was caused by severe brain injuries

Adrian Lyons, Calinda Steinseifer

Adrian Lyons, Calinda Steinseifer (Iredell County Sheriff’s Office)

A 26-year-old North Carolina father with a history of abuse now faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of his infant daughter several months after the girl was taken to a hospital with brain trauma.

The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that an autopsy showed the victim’s death was caused by blunt force trauma from an assault. The announcement comes several months after the child’s father Adrian Rashaun Lyons and mother Calinda Steinseifer were both charged with felony child abuse, but only Lyons is facing a murder charge. The allegations thus far indicate that the father was primarily responsible for the fatal abuse.

Deputies said that they were called to a Mooresville-area residence on Teeter Rd. back on Sept. 18, 2022, a Sunday, because the infant victim was unresponsive and receiving CPR. Investigators said that Lyons is the one who called 911 and that he claimed to find the baby limp some 30 minutes after feeding her and putting her down to sleep. Steinseifer apparently told detectives that she woke up to Lyons telling her the baby needed to go to the emergency room.

According to the sheriff’s office, there was no innocent explanation or happenstance about what took place, as medical professionals at the hospital quickly found brain swelling and hemorrhages that appeared “un-accidental” in nature. Investigators claim Lyons’ own admissions about hit the baby’s head also supported that conclusion.

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“After receiving this information, Investigators re-interviewed both Lyons and Steinseifer. Adrian Lyons admitted running into a door and striking the infant’s head approximately two weeks prior,” the sheriff’s office said. “He went on to say the baby would not eat, was crying a lot and twitching. Calinda Steinseifer admitted to knowing about the incident but did not seek medical attention for the infant for fear of getting in trouble.”

An investigation report obtained by Law&Crime names Atrium Health employees as witnesses to the baby’s injuries. A property inventory indicates that investigators possess evidence of a blood-stained baby onesie, a kitchen towel, and cell phones. While the document identifies Lyons as a laborer in Statesville, Steinseifer was listed as unemployed.

Lyons was previously charged in the case with intentional child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury, and the sheriff’s office noted that he’s already had a 2019 felony child abuse conviction in neighboring Davie County. County records reviewed by Law&Crime reflect that Lyons was under community supervision at the time of his September 2022 arrest in the baby’s death. Authorities did not specify when the victim died.

Steinseifer also faces the same felony child abuse charge as Lyons, the sheriff’s office said.

As of Friday afternoon, North Carolina court records indicate that Lyons has already been arraigned on the murder charge. Another court appearance is scheduled for March 15.

Records show that defendant Lyons remains at the Iredell County Detention Facility.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.