The New Jersey dad suspected of killing his 2-year-old daughter was captured in California Tuesday afternoon, according to the U. S. Marshal’s Office.

Arthur Morgan, 27, allegedly tossed his baby girl, Tierra La’Shae Camaya Morgan-Glover, into a creek while she was still strapped into her car seat during one of his court-ordered visitations.

The toddler’s mother, Imani Benton, reported her baby girl missing after Morgan failed to return her home on November 21.

Tierra was found a day later partially submerged in a creek near a roadway overpass in Shark River Park in Wall Township, N.J., about 20 miles north of her Lakehurst home. Her cause of death was listed as “homicidal violence, including submersion in water.”

Prosecutors would not say whether authorities believe the girl was thrown from a vehicle into the creek, or whether she was carried into the park and placed in

the water, but they definitely believe her father is responsible for putting her there.

A manhunt began for the fugitive father, who was featured on the “America’s Most Wanted” website, and he was found hiding out at a home in San Diego a day after his daughter was laid to rest.

On Monday, three people carried Tierra’s tiny coffin from the Cathedral International of Asbury Park, while a minister followed with a large stuffed teddy bear.

Bishop Donald Hilliard Jr. tried to bring comfort to her family.

“As she was placed into that creek, an angel caught her,” Hilliard said. “She did not suffer at all.”
Those words right now may bring little comfort to her mother, who had to be helped into the church by relatives holding her on both sides, as she clutched a bouquet of purple and white roses.

She later placed those flowers on her daughter’s casket.

Tierra wore a white dress and had several gold bracelets on her wrist.

Church members called Tierra the “church baby” remarking she was a bright-eyed little girl with a warm smile who loved to sing and was a quick learner.

Bishop Hilliard told Tierra’s family, “You will see your baby again.”

Tierra’s mother sought help from the authorities to protect her and her baby girl, but family members said none was given.

Benton’s mother said the system failed her daughter and grandchild.

“She tried to get help and nobody helped her,” Michelle Simmons told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “That was so wrong.”

Benton and Morgan apparently had a tumultuous relationship, and Benton sought refuge in shelters for victims of domestic violence with her daughter at least twice —but eventually moved back to her mother’s home after each stay.

The New Jersey Department of Children and Families had been involved in their family on and off for more than a year, according to officials.

Benton also got a court to issue a temporary restraining order against Morgan. But a court dropped the order claiming lack of evidence.

The agency set up counseling and parenting classes for Benton. Morgan was also offered parenting classes and a substance abuse evaluation, but he declined to participate, according to the agency.

Simmons said her family could breathe a sigh of relief after Morgan was arrested.

“It was a relief. Everybody could sleep. We all were starting to be fearful of him. He did things to all of us,” she said. “We want to know why he did what he did to that baby.”

Tierra’s mother hopes her daughter’s death may be a lesson learned for other women of domestic violence.

“I hope that my story and my situation can prevent another mother going through what I have to go through,” Benton said. “It doesn’t matter what a person does in the streets, you never know what they are going through behind closed doors.”

Did the system fail this child?

 

 Information obtained from the Associated Press and USA Today