Public Safety

Man charged in 4-week-old's 2018 death in Fayette County

Dean Hettinger
Dean Hettinger

WEST UNION — A Westgate man faces charges in an infant’s death nearly a year after investigators determined the child died of brain injuries.

One of the child’s caretakers, Dean A. Hettinger, 22, was charged Thursday with first-degree murder and child-endangerment causing death.

The charges stem from the death of 4-week-old Holten Smith who died May 27, 2018, nearly a month after being injured, the Fayette County Sherrif’s Office said.

The Iowa Department of Human Services contacted the sheriff’s office on April 30, 2018, the day after the child was taken to a hospital in Sumner where the boy’s guardians reported he was “seizing.”

The infant was transferred to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, where he died, the sheriff’s office said.

Hettinger was already being held at the Black Hawk County Jail on unrelated charges Thursday and was transferred to the Fayette County Jail, where he is being held on a $1 million bond.

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