Cedar Rapids man says his young daughter was victim in Williamsburg murder

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG TV9)- A Cedar Rapids man says his two and a half year old daughter is the victim in a Williamsburg murder case.

Father Chris Loffer hold a phone with a photo of his daughter Bella Loffer. Lotter says the two and a half year old was the victim in a Williamsburg murder case.

Police in Williamsburg arrested Cody Stevenson, 29, on a willful injury charge Monday afternoon. That charge was changed to 1st degree murder Monday evening when the young victim died.

Chris Loffer said it was his daughter, Bella, who died Monday. Loffer said he separated from the girl’s mother last October and hadn’t seen his daughter since January due to visitation issues.

Loffer said he was in the process of moving to Cedar Rapids when he saw an unsettling social media message from a friend. It said she was praying for Loffer’s daughter Bella.

Loffer said he quickly found out serious injuries had sent Bella to intensive care at the University of Iowa hospitals. A call there convinced him he needed to go to Iowa City quickly.

“They told me she wasn’t doing really well and they told me I needed to get there as soon as possible to spend as much time with her as I possible could,” Loffer said.

Loffer said he found out his estranged wife had called an ambulance Sunday for a life-threatening injury to the little girl. While he was there he learned from a nurse there were strong suspicions of child abuse and police were involved.

Loffer said he believed Stevenson had moved into an apartment in Williamsburg with his estranged wife and five children, including his daughter Bella.

At the hospital, he also learned from his estranged wife that Stevenson had lost a job and had recently become the caregiver for the children.

“She said she wasn’t at home and didn’t suspect anything. I don’t know I wasn’t there. I don’t know what was going on in the home,” he said.

Loffer said at the hospital he also learned there was evidence of earlier injuries that had started healing. He and the girl’s mother made the decision together to end life support after being told there was no hope of any recovery.

Due to the holiday, court records are not available to show when Stevenson will make a next appearance on the first degree murder charge.

Police in announcing the arrest Monday evening did not provide any details about the case.