On March 23, 2012 at approximately 4:05 p.m., deputies from the Lee County Sheriff's Office responded to 18601 Palm Creek Drive, North Fort Myers, in reference to a 9-1-1 call about an unconscious six week old child. Upon arrival, deputies learned the child had been transported to a local hospital.
Due to the nature of the injuries, detectives from the Major Crimes Unit were notified and responded to the hospital. Detectives were shown medical evidence and informed by the emergency room attending physician that the child suffered severe head trauma, including multiple skull fractures. The child, Jada Cantrell, DOB 1-29-12, died as a result of her massive traumatic head injuries. The child lived at home with her mother, father and maternal grandfather. Further investigation revealed that the child was at home alone with her father, Steven Cantrell, DOB 8-7-90, at the time her injuries were sustained.
Cantrell gave detectives conflicting explanations regarding the child's massive head injuries. The investigation showed that none of the explanations Cantrell gave were plausible. Based on the investigation, including the documentation of the scene, the recovered evidence, the witness statements and the victim's documented fatal injuries, detectives arrested and charged Steven Cantrell with one count of First Degree Felony Murder.