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Grenada man on death of daughter: 'She was my everything'

ROGELIO V. SOLIS/ASSOCIATED PRESSAn emotional Joshua Blunt, center, is surrounded by family members after being released from the Grenada County Jail on Tuesday, May 24, 2016.
ROGELIO V. SOLIS/ASSOCIATED PRESSAn emotional Joshua Blunt, center, is surrounded by family members after being released from the Grenada County Jail on Tuesday, May 24, 2016.

One week after his infant daughter was discovered in the backseat of his hot car, Josh Blunt stood outside his Grenada home, unable to go inside.

"I can't go in the house," Blunt said Thursday, to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. "I went in there, I couldn't take it. I went in earlier, just trying to get something . I couldn't stand to be in there. I miss her smell, her smile. I miss her. She just made me happy."

Blunt, 25, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 8-month-old Shania Caradine after he left the infant in a car while he went to work.

Originally in jail on a $250,000 bond, he was released Tuesday on his own recognizance. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 26, according to court records.

Hours before his daughter's wake Thursday afternoon, Blunt told The Clarion-Ledger "She was my everything."

"People say they understand, but they don't. They don't understand."

Blunt said he was advised not to talk about the case by his attorney, Carlos Moore, but he agreed to talk about Shania.

Tears flowing down his face, Blunt choked out words to describe "my gorgeous little Shania."

"Shania, Shania was the type of girl that just lit up a room," he said. "Words could not express when my baby, when my baby looks at you and she just smiles, it don't make a difference what type of day you had, it could be the worst day, but my daughter made my day like a bottle of sunshine. She was my day, she was my day. When I was down, she kept me up."

Blunt said he's been unable to sleep, he appears barely able to stand as he talks about his daughter. He sways with the summer breeze.

Pulling a picture from his wallet, Blunt looks at an image of him holding newborn Shania. Folded in a square, framing the infant's face, the picture is well worn and faded in the creases.

"She was my everything," he said. "She was what kept me strong in this world.

Birds chirp in the background. Blunt's chin begins to quiver.

Taking a deep breath, he said, "She loved outside. I used to take her to the back door and walk around so she could just enjoy life. Everywhere I went, my baby, I kept her with me. That was my other half.

"I would never wish this on nobody. It's so much to bear.

Neighbors and family members said Blunt's girlfriend left town after Shania's death.

Confusion has surrounded Blunt's case in the last week as his attorney told multiple media outlets that the murder charge against his client had been dropped. However, Grenada Assistant Chief of Police George Douglas said the charges still stand.

Grenada City Prosecutor Jennifer Adams-Williams said she would not present the second-degree murder charge in Grenada Municipal Court. However, she said the case would be presented to a grand jury by the district attorney.

Adams-Williams added that, despite Moore's claim that he is representing Blunt, Blunt does not have an attorney of record.

"An entry of appearance has not been filed," she said.

Grenada County District Attorney Doug Evans has not returned repeated requests for comment. However, Evans appeared on TV saying the case will be presented to a grand jury. Evans said the grand jury will decide if Blunt is indicted.

Standing under the shade of a tree, Blunt is disheveled. His shirt, wet with drops of tears, is untucked and his belt has missed a loop on his jeans. Wiping his face with his hand, Blunt said Shania was a blessing long prayed for.

"I didn't even think I could have kids," he said. "The Lord blessed us, and we finally had a kid. Everything was so perfect. I prayed to the Lord for a family. He gave me one of my own."

Eyes glazed over and eyelashes heavy with tears, Blunt stares in the distance.

"My daughter loved to dance," he said. "It didn't make a difference what type of music it was. She was a loving baby. Oh, man."

Blunt's boss and owner of 333 Restaurant, Allyson Worsham, said Blunt was a "wonderful father" who was "ecstatic" and "elated" when he found out he and his girlfriend were expecting a baby.

"He's always been a wonderful father, and we can't imagine that he would ever do anything to harm that baby," Worsham said.

According to his attorney, Blunt went to work at 333 Restaurant at 9 a.m. last Thursday. He left work at 11 to go pick up his daughter and his girlfriend, drop his girlfriend at work at KFC and then take Shania to a grandmother. But after he dropped his girlfriend off, Blunt went back to work, the baby still strapped in her car seat in the back.

Blunt and a coworker discovered Shania four hours later, still alive.

His coworkers reportedly wrapped the infant in cold towels until the ambulance arrived.

An incident report obtained by The Clarion-Ledger though the Grenada Police Department said Blunt was standing outside the door of the ambulance, crying, when law enforcement arrived on scene.

Despite efforts to save her, Shania died at University of Mississippi Medical Center Grenada. Grenada County Coroner Jo Morman said the infant was "hyperthermic."

Worsham said she and the rest of the staff at 333 carry guilt in Shania's death.

"We all have guilt about it because we were all in the building working, going about our normal work day," she said.

Throughout his shift, multiple people passed by Blunt's car.

No one saw the baby.

"He parked where he always parked, over near the Dumpster," Worsham said. "During the day, coworkers came and went, we took trash out and nobody saw or heard anything, and we didn't know and so that's what was so horrible about it. Any one of us would have done all we could but we didn't know, and he didn't.

Since Shania's death, Worsham said she's been worried about Blunt's health.

"Every time I talked to him, he talked about taking his own life," she said.

In the days following his daughter's death, Blunt said he's been dealing with the emotions and the grief by himself, "wishing you could do anything to be with her."

"When she was born, I was the first one to hold my baby," he said. "Her first word was 'Dada.' Eight months, she was already babbling 'Dada.' Everyday I would go to work she would cry."

Blunt asked for prayer.

"It hit the family so hard," he said. "That was our only baby. It took years to make that baby. That was our blessing. That was my blessing."

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