Arrest made Thursday in Fayette County infant’s death

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Dean Alan Hettinger, 22, of Westgate was arrested Thursday on charges of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death in connection with the May 2018 death of 4-week-old Holten Smith.


DES MOINES, Iowa — A Fayette County man was arrested Thursday on charges of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death in connection with the May 2018 death of a 4-week-old infant who died of brain damage.

Dean Alan Hettinger, 22, of Westgate was arrested by Fayette County Deputy Sheriffs and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) agents at the Black Hawk County Jail, where Hettinger was being incarcerated on unrelated charges.

Investigation into the death of the month-old infant, Holten Smith, began April 30, 2018, when the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS), who said Smith was found to have brain injuries.

Iowa DHS investigators reported that the child had been living at 23837 90th Street in rural Westgate, Iowa, and was taken to Community Memorial Hospital in Sumner the night before, after it was reported by Holten’s guardians that he was “seizing.”

Hettinger was one of Holten’s caretakers at the time of the infant’s injuries.

The child was later transferred to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. The Fayette County Sheriff’s office contacted the Iowa DCI for assistance, and a criminal investigation began.

Holten Smith died May 27, 2018, as a result of his injuries.

He was transferred from the Black Hawk County Jail to the Fayette County Jail and is being held on a $1 million bond.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s office was assisted in this investigation by the Iowa DCI, the Iowa DHS, the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, the Johnson County Medical Examiner’s office, the Fayette County Attorney’s office and the Area Prosecutions Division of the Iowa Attorney General’s office.

*A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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