RIPLEY, W.Va. — A 10-month-old girl allegedly raped by a man has died, Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies confirmed Wednesday.

Deputies struggled for words Tuesday to describe what they called the most jarring sexual assault case any had experienced. Benjamin Taylor, 32, was charged with first-degree sexual assault and now will face murder charges as well, said county Sheriff Tony Boggs.

Benjamin Taylor

West Virginia Regional Jail Authority

Benjamin Taylor, 32, will now face a murder charge on top of the first-degree sexual assault of a 10-month-old infant.

“The charges will be upgraded as soon as possible,” Boggs said. “I don’t know if that will be tonight yet or in the morning. But Mr. Taylor will be charged with felony murder sooner (rather) than later.”

Taylor reportedly had a criminal record but nothing of this magnitude, said Boggs, who suggested no explanation for motive.

“I don’t know of any normal human that could fathom what would possess somebody to do that,” Boggs said.

Family members said earlier Wednesday the child was clinically brain dead, and there was a very small chance she would wake up.

Boggs confirmed Taylor was the live-in boyfriend of the child’s mother. He was found Monday morning with the child in the basement of a Fairplain apartment complex.

“This investigation is ongoing, but as far as his past and what she did or didn’t know, he didn’t have anything obviously of this nature in his past, or he wouldn’t have been out (of jail) period.”

The child was discovered unresponsive and covered in blood. Taylor allegedly did nothing to help the baby. Boggs said the county had never seen such a heinous crime.

“I have not and hope to never again,” he said.

Taylor was in jail in lieu of $2 million bond.

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