Police say toddler may have been dead for days before dad called 911

Jeffrey J. Exon
Jeffrey J. Exon(Shawn Wheat | wibw)
Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 11:42 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - New details have emerged in the January murder of a 2-year-old Topeka girl. They’re included in an affidavit obtained by 13 News. Jeffrey James Exon, 45, of Topeka is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his daughter Aurora.

On the morning of January 5, officers with the Topeka Police Department were dispatched to the 3500 block of SW 10th Ave. on a report of an unresponsive girl. Medical personnel arrived on the scene to assist, but the girl was pronounced dead a short time later.

During the 911 call, detectives write that Jeffrey Exon was calm, telling the dispatcher that his daughter’s fingernails and toenails were blue. He said that he tried CPR and that her eyes were white. When the dispatcher asked if the little girl had a pulse, Exon said that he could not find one. According to the affidavit, detectives believe that Aurora had been dead for several days based on the color of her skin and sunken in eyes.

The Shawnee County Coroner’s Office determined her death to be a homicide in late March. Exon told investigators that the little girl had been “under the weather and had pretty much refused all of her food.” He told investigators that he should have taken her to the emergency room after she was weak on January 4th. However, he had told the dispatcher he had last seen her on Saturday January 2nd.

Exon had sole custody of both of his children, Aurora and her older brother. He told detectives that she had been “starving herself” but had access to food. Exon claims that the little girl had been “holding her” poop in early December. The pediatrician advised that she be given Miralax and probiotics. However, according to the dad, the Miralax was causing a rash. He was told to use Desitin, Vaseline, and Maylox.

According to Exon, the toddler last pooped when she died. He claims to have cleaned her before first responders arrived “because he could smell it” in her diaper. He told investigators that it had last been a week since she had a bowel movement.

Exon told investigators that early Sunday morning his daughter was weak, but he took her a bottle of water and cheese and crackers. He could tell she was getting weaker, telling officers that she usually springs to life saying, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.” Exon claims to have taken the food out that night and brought more back in Monday morning.

There is a reference to police and his father stopping by at some point before the little girl died. Exon says he changed her diaper right after the police left. It’s not clear in the affidavit when this occurred.

Exon told police that he got a text saying his son needed to go to school or he would be “kicked out of the program” at school. It is not clear what program that is. The 45-year-old says he left the toddler alone at home while he took his son to school. He claims to have come home, had a couple of smokes, and gone back in to check on her. Exon says that was when he found her sprawled out and called 911. He says he moved her from the bed to the couch and changed her before help arrived.

Exon faces multiple charges, including Murder in the 1st degree, Aggravated Endangering of a Child, and Failure to report the death of a child. Exon remains behind bars on a $1 million bond. His next court appearance is June 17, 2021 at 9 AM.

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