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Murder charges filed against South Bay dad after baby dies from beating

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A 6-week-old baby who was allegedly abused by her father in unincorporated San Jose succumbed to her injuries early this morning. (KGO-TV)

The six-week-old daughter of Matthew Zabala has died from her injuries.

Police say Zabala beat her more than once. He was in court Friday where a judge set his bail at $1 million.
Donations for the baby's funeral can be made online here.

Investigators say she suffered nine broken ribs, a fractured left arm and multiple leg fractures. The six-week old baby girl, whose father is accused of child abuse, has died from a fractured skull. That means her father is now facing murder charges and could be sentenced to life in prison.

"Early this morning, baby Mila succumbed to her injuries and was taken off life support. We have charged her father, Matthew Zabala, with murder," said chief trial Deputy Stacey Capps.

RELATED: 6-week-old baby dies after alleged beating by father

It was last Sunday at an upstairs apartment where paramedics and deputies found six-week-old Mila Zabala, unconscious and not breathing. Her mother called 911 after hearing what she termed a blood-curdling scream from another room.

Zabala, admitted to detectives that he had been too rough with Mila on several occasions. He admitted to deputies he forcibly ripped Mila from a car seat the previous day, causing her to hit her head on the carry handle. The car seat then fell to the ground.

Matthew Thompson lives directly below the apartment where investigators say a Mila was repeatedly beaten by her own father.

"We really are all shocked," he said. "I never heard anything suspicious. I heard the baby crying once and while. I could hear moving around, but I never heard any violence."

Neighbors say Zabala's two older children often stayed at the apartment. He lived with his girlfriend, Mila's mom. Zabala has a record of child abuse.

"I just think it's so sad that a 6-week-old baby girl, all she knew was this brutality," said neighbor Darlene Wallech. "How could our system be such that somebody who has previous child abuse conviction get custody of his children."

Zabala was in court Friday afternoon where he was charged with the murder of his infant daughter. A public defender and court bailiff kept Zabala out of camera range, but he was briefly visible through a window.

Zabala's bail was set at $1 million over the objection of the chief trial deputy because of his prior conviction six years ago for injuries to an older daughter. For that, he was sentenced to seven months in jail.

RELATED: South Bay infant has skull fracture in alleged abuse case

ABC7 News learned Zabala never went to jail. Instead, he was outfitted with an electronic monitor. Zabala continued to be in contact with his children, according to a neighbor who doesn't want to be identified.

Mila's organs have been donated to help others in need.

The Sheriff's Office and Valley Medical Center Foundation are raising money for the baby's funeral. Any contributions leftover after the service will be sent to the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that helps premature babies and infants soon after birth.

Here are resources if you are a parent and need help with child care:
http://www.nationalparenthelpline.org/
http://www.first5california.com/
Related Topics:
newsabusechild abusechildren injurieschild injuredsanta clara countycrimearrestSan Jose
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