History of abuse and neglect in 4 month old's death

By Audrey Wise

April 24, 2014 Updated Apr 24, 2014 at 7:46 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill -- The investigation continues into the suspicious death of a 4 month old East Peoria baby.

According to her obituary, Aspen Neal was born on September 5th and died almost 4 months later after a short, but seemingly painful life.

Around 4:00 a.m. on January 3rd Aspen's step-mother, Stephanie Tucker, called police after finding the little girl face down on the floor and not breathing.

They were sleeping in an apartment in the Raintree Apartment Complex on Springfield Road in East Peoria.

Stephanie Tucker is married to Aspen's father, Joshua Tucker. He was reportedly at work during the incident.

Stephanie Tucker said Aspen was sleeping in a baby swing when she fell asleep. She then found the baby lying on the floor next to the swing with a baby blanket around her neck.

Aspen was pronounced dead shortly after arriving by ambulance to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

The Peoria County Coroner said an autopsy shows Aspen Neal died from suffocation.

The autopsy also shows the baby had multiple rib and limb fractures. Some of those recent, some were older and healing. The coroner also found recent bruises on her back and the back of her head.

East Peoria Police Detective Sergeant Brian Despines said at two months old the child had a broken leg. That case is currently being investigated by the Tazewell County State's Attorney.

Sergeant Despines said they have been investigating this death as suspicious from the beginning.

The detective said they have no one in custody are still investigating the girls death.

"This case here, we're being extremely cautious and very slow, looking at what we have, doing other interviews, talking with people, neighbors, stuff like that. We want to make sure whenever we decide to make a decision, we have the right decision made," said Sgt. Despines.

The father, Joshua Tucker, is currently in Tazewell County Jail on aggravated battery charges in a separate case.

Two other children under the age of 10 were in the home at the time.

DCFS has placed them in the care of other family members.

A DCFS Spokesperson said they are also investigating the death. They have found credible evidence that both her father and biological mother neglected Aspen prior to her death.

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