UNIONTOWN (KDKA) — A Fayette County father remains in jail today in connection with a case of child abuse that left his toddler dead from what state police say were severe internal injuries.

“From my perspective as District Attorney, this is a particularly sad event resulting in the death of an innocent 20-month-old child,” Fayette County District Attorney Jack Heneks said.

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Heneks praised state police for making an arrest 12 hours after they began investigating the death of Kaylee Jo Burkholder.

The child’s father, 30-year-old Domer Burkholder, Jr., of Uniontown, has been charged with homicide and endangering the welfare of children.

“Mr. Burkholder struck the victim in her abdomen during the evening hours… during the late afternoon, early evening hours of Nov. 14, 2013,” said Heneks.

Authorities say the family took the child to Uniontown Hospital from their home in North Union Township the next day after her stomach swelled and she began vomiting.

Doctors discovered the 20-month-old had severe internal injuries and called state police.

She was taken to Children’s Hospital for further treatment and later died.

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“The initial indication is that she had a lacerated liver, perforated intestines and internal bleeding,” Heneks said.

According to investigators, the toddler’s mother told police that Burkholder disciplined his daughter by spanking her and grabbing her roughly by the arm.

Police say Burkholder later admitted he was too rough with the child, allegedly punching her in the stomach once and dropping her on the couch.

Robert Burkholder, the suspect’s brother, said he contacted Fayette County Children, Youth and Families several weeks ago to warn the agency something like could happen.

“I contacted them, notified them they’re on drugs real bad, and needed homes,” Burkholder. “They have nowhere to live; their bouncing from home to home, both the parents was on drugs.”

KDKA is told that CYF is taking action in regards to the couple’s two other children.

The suspect is now locked up in the Fayette County Jail.

“I love him to death, he is my brother; but if he did this, he deserves to spend the rest of his days in jail,” said Robert.

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