Retired Visalia police detective testifies in child murder trial

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Visalia Police Detective Ken Smythe interrogated Courtney Rowe for answers surrounding the death of her weeks-old baby daughter, Peyton. (KFSN)

An intense police interrogation was played for jurors Friday afternoon.

In it, Visalia Police Detective Ken Smythe presses Courtney Rowe for answers surrounding the death of her weeks-old baby daughter, Peyton.

"The reason why we're here today though is because Peyton is dead, okay?" Smythe tells Rowe. "Somebody killed Peyton. It didn't just happen. So either you killed Peyton or Aaron killed Peyton, or you both killed Peyton, okay?"

Friday was day four of the trial of Aaron Rowe, who is accused of torturing and murdering his daughter in November 2012.

Courtney Rowe is awaiting sentencing after pleading to felony child abuse.

Detective Smythe is now retired, but on the witness stand Friday, he remembered sharing some information about the case with the doctor who performed Peyton's autopsy, including an event that allegedly happened at the family's home a few days before her death.

"(It had) been reported to me by Aaron that he had tripped over the family dog (and) the ottoman, causing him to fall to the floor with Peyton, a couple days prior to, that was on the 8th," Smythe said Friday. "Then on the evening of the 12th, that Peyton had some issues ingesting formula and that Courtney had gone to bed, left the child in the care of Aaron, and that he eventually went back into the child's room and found her deceased."

The autopsy revealed that Peyton died of blunt force trauma to the head.

A full body scan also revealed older bone fractures that had already started to heal.

In the interrogation, Courtney Rowe told Smythe that Peyton's broken bones had to be a result of the fall.

"She sustained some very serious brain trauma that you just don't get from falling over a dog," Smythe tells Rowe later.

Rowe's defense team has argued this is a medically complex case.

In addition to having Turner's Syndrome, they say Peyton also had a bone fragility disease.

The trial will continue next week.

Rowe faces the death penalty if convicted.
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