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Father killed his 21-month-old who survived cancer 'because he was jealous of the attention she got'

The Independent logo The Independent 18/09/2016 Katie Forster
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A father has admitted beating his 1-year-old daughter to death – because he was jealous of the attention she received after surviving a rare form of eye cancer.

Ryan Lawrence, 25, killed 21-month-old Maddox Lawrence with a wooden baseball bat and burned her body before dumping it in a stream in Onondaga in the U.S. state of New York.

He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and will spend at least 25 years in prison when he is sentenced next month, according to Yahoo News.

Before her first birthday, baby Maddox was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma and survived, according to local media.

“[Mr. Lawrence's] statements allude to almost a sense of jealousy about the attention that this child was getting as opposed to the attention that he was getting,” district lawyer Bill Fitzpatrick told CBS 5 News following the toddler's death in February.

Mr. Fitzpatrick said Maddox was a “fighter” but that the treatment had been expensive and time consuming. “If that contributed to her demise, I don’t know,” he said.

A public alert was issued after Mr. Lawrence and his daughter went missing on Feb. 20. Police found Maddox's body in a harbour in the city of Syracuse 36 hours later and arrested Mr. Lawrence.

Morgan Lawrence, Maddox's mother, was not involved in her daughter's death, according to Aol News.

Judge Anthony Aloi told the court Mr Lawrence had kidnapped his daughter and taken her to a “remote, secluded location” where he struck her in the head with a baseball bat and killed her.

He then “placed her body and the baseball bat in a prepared fire pit for hours,” said Mr. Aloi, and took her “charred remains” back to Onondaga in a container where he disposed of them in Onondaga Creek.

Mr. Lawrence was initially accused of second-degree murder, but the charges were increased to first-degree murder in March.

He was cleared to stand trial after a mental health examination, according to CBS 6.

Stuffed animals and candles have been placed on the banks of the river where Maddox's body was found in tribute to the child, and the family hope to turn the site into a permanent memorial.

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