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Father charged with murder in scalding death of 10-month-old South Shore girl

The father of a 10-month-old South Shore girl is being held without bail as he faces a murder charge in her death last September.

Edmond J.A. Horvath, 28, brought his daughter, Akira, to MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island on Sept. 26 after telling the girl’s mother that Akira’s skin was “red and peeling” after he bathed her, according to Cook County prosecutors and Chicago police.

The girl was unresponsive when she was brought in and she was pronounced dead shortly after, prosecutors said Wednesday during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office did not immediately rule on the cause and manner of Akira’s death after her autopsy, but later determined that she died of “scalding injuries.”

Her death was ruled a homicide on Dec. 21, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said.

The Department of Children and Family Services opened an investigation after being notified of Akira’s death, according to agency spokesman Neil Skene. The investigation was still ongoing as of Wednesday. The department did not appear to have had prior contact with the girl’s family.

Prosecutors said Akira’s injuries were consistent with boiling water being poured on her body and could not have been caused by taking a bath.

Edmund Horvath | Cook County sheriff’s office

Horvath was taken into custody Dec. 26 and charged with first-degree murder, according to court records. He was ordered held without bail during a hearing two days later, but was hospitalized at the time and was not in attendance.

On Wednesday, Horvath appeared for bail review hearing, but a motion to reduce his bail was denied by Judge John F. Lyke Jr., who called the charges “diabolical” if true.

Prosecutors said the girl’s mother went to work about 7 a.m. on the day Akira died and left Akira and two other young children with Horvath at their apartment. Horvath was supposed to get the children dressed and drop them off at either daycare or school.

Horvath called Akira’s mother shortly after about her injuries and her mother told him to put ointment on the girl’s skin and take her to the hospital. Horvath dropped off the other children and waited nearly 2 1/2 hours to take the girl to MetroSouth, prosecutors said.

Edmund Horvath pictured with his daughter, Akira, in a photo posted to a GoFundMe page set up after the girl died in September. | GoFundMe

Horvath started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the girl’s funeral service four days after Akira’s death. In a post on the page, Horvath wrote that Akira was born 2 1/2 months early and was “a fighter since birth,” but had stopped breathing.

Prosecutors said the girl was in good heath when her mother left her with Horvath, but did not say how the girl came to be burned.

Members of Horvath’s family who attended the hearing declined to comment.

His next court date was set for Jan. 16.