A 6-week-old Visalia baby is dead and police say the infant's parents are the prime suspects.
The baby died Monday night. The parents were arrested Thursday after an autopsy showed the infant was the victim of abuse.
Most parents can agree protecting their children is a number one priority.
"It's just natural that you want to protect them and give them the best," says Visalia mother, Michelle.
That's why this parent was shocked to hear what a Visalia mom and dad are accused of.
Aaron Rowe, 23, and Courtney Rowe, 21, were arrested Thursday in the death of their 6-week-old daughter, Peyton.
Police were called to the couple's home on Cypress Avenue Monday night. The little girl had stopped breathing. She was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Sergeant Paul Esquibel, Visalia Police Department says, "It was learned that the child had medical conditions, as well as an injury, and speaking to the parents we learned that there had had been a fall with the child, so there was no concern at the time."
The parents were free to go that night. Wednesday, an autopsy report revealed the baby had died of blunt force trauma. It also showed older injuries, which suggests the child had been abused for several weeks.
Detectives interviewed the parents again, and arrested Aaron Rowe on suspicion of murdering his daughter. The girls mother was arrested for the willful cruelty of a child.
"It's very trying being that the child's so young, so innocent and one that cannot fend for themselves or seek help," says Sergeant Esquibel.
Parents in the community agree.
"I mean six weeks, oh my gosh, that's really hurtful," says Cynthia Doerr.
"They're such precious blessings. I just can't imagine what happened for it to come to that. I feel for that family and that poor child that had to go through that."
Aaron was booked in the Tulare County jail. Courtney was taken to the Bob Wiley Detention Facility. The District Attorney's Office expects to file charges against both of the parents Monday.
The Visalia Police Department says deadly child abuse cases like these are rare in the community.