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SMITHVILLE — Police in Smithville are investigating after an infant died in the city Friday, Feb. 12.

“We were called to a nonbreathing infant in the 400 block of Hawthorne (Street) at about 2:30 p.m. on Friday. The infant was transported to a local hospital where (the baby) was pronounced deceased,” said Smithville officer Claire Henry.

Per state statute, anytime a child under age 18 dies, an investigation must take place. As of Wednesday, Feb. 17, if the cause of death was foul play or of natural causes such as sudden infant death syndrome, remains unclear.

“We really don’t know. With the holiday weekend, that has delayed anything with the medical examiner’s office. Detectives were just able to get in contact with the medical examiner’s office yesterday,” Police Chief Jason Lockridge told the Courier-Tribune Wednesday. “We, unfortunately, don’t really know any more now than we did at that day information was first released.”

Along with Clay County, Smithville Police Department utilizes Frontier Forensics out of Kansas City, Kansas, for medical examiner services.

“If you look at (state statute), basically what it says is that anytime you have a child death, that is someone under age 18, a child pathologist has to be involved, so either Frontier Forensics will have one on staff or they will call one in,” the chief said.

Citing the ongoing nature of the investigation, Lockridge said he can’t release details on if the family of the child called 911 or if another reporting party did. More details on this developing story will be released as they become available.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com or 903-6001.

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