A Fort Bragg soldier faces murder and child abuse charges related to the December death of her 2-year-old daughter.
Fayetteville, North Carolina, police detectives arrested Spc. Jeanie Ditty, 23, on Thursday, according to a news release from the city's police department. Officers have also charged Zachary Keefer in the child's death; Keefer, reportedly Ditty's boyfriend and not the girl's father, remains at large.
The case garnered national media attention late last month, when it was reported that the accused soldier had ordered "afterlife" photos of herself with digitally-inserted images of her daughter from a Pennsylvania photographer.
Macey Ditty died Dec. 4, two days after arriving at a local emergency room with bruises all over her body and "life-threatening injuries consistent with child abuse," the release states. The injuries came within a day of the ER visit, medical personnel determined.
The Fayetteville Observer, citing a search warrant, reported that Jeanie Ditty accompanied her daughter to the hospital in an ambulance after calling 911. She made the call when Keefer, a paramedic, told her Macey was choking on vomit, according to the newspaper.
The state's medical examiner ruled the child's death a homicide on Wednesday, and arrest warrants for both suspects went out the next day.
Jeanie Ditty is being held without bond in the Cumberland Detention Center on charges of first-degree murder and negligent child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury.
She is assigned to the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade as a chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear specialist, according to a brigade spokeswoman. The Army initially reported that Ditty joined in November 2013, but later said she served from July 2011 November 2012, was discharged, then re-enlisted in April 2015. Details on the circumstances surrounding her discharge and re-enlistment weren't available.
Police have asked anyone with information on Keefer's whereabouts or the incident in general to contact the department via phone at 910-224-3257 or through the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Crime Stoppers website.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.