A Billings father is charged with negligent homicide nearly a year after his daughter died.  According to charging documents the small child was found unresponsive on October 31, 2018.

The affidavit states police were notified by the baby's mother, Omunik Dixon.

Dixon called police after receiving a frantic call from James Palmer, the baby's father.  Dixon immediately called 9-1-1.  The affidavit states that medical personnel could not revive the baby after arriving on scene.  Palmer and Dixon's daughter was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

According to the affidavit, Sergeant Conrad examined the baby's room, where a heavy comforter and thick couch cushions were in the crib.  Dixon says they would use the comforter when the baby's regular bedding was being washed.

In a voluntary statement, Palmer says his daughter had no trouble climbing up from underneath the covers.

Palmer told detectives that on October 31st that he gave the baby her bottle (which she allegedly could hold on her own) and propped her up on top of the comforter in her crib to watch TV.

Palmer then left the room four approximately two hours.  Palmer says when he went to go check on the baby -- she was face down underneath the covers.  According to the affidavit, a postmortem examination was performed on the child.

The results showed evidence of methamphetamine and amphetamine in the baby's urine.  The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be airway obstruction.  The affidavit states James Palmer also tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana.  Chief medical examiner Dr. Robert Kurtzman says it is not probable that a child of the baby's age would be able to move from her back, on top of a blanket, to a face-down position underneath a blanket.  Kurtzman ruled the baby's death as a homicide.

The baby's medical records also show us that she was never taken in for any scheduled doctor's appointments even though Riverstone Health reached out to the family multiple times.  James Palmer remains in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility on $200,000 bond.

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