A former Florence resident has been charged with murder in Illinois in the September death of his 6-month-old daughter, authorities said.

Kyle Purser, 20, was charged this week with first-degree murder in the death of Lisa C'anna Marie Purser, officials confirmed Thursday.

The charge is connected to an incident that occurred Sept. 8 in Peoria, Illinois, authorities said.

Purser's bond was set at $3 million during a court hearing Thursday in Peoria, Illinois, and he remains in custody, Assistant State's Attorney Steve Pattelli said.

Pattelli said Purser told authorities he is from Florence but he moved to Peoria recently to be with his girlfriend.

He said Purser was arrested this week after he told authorities he had held the infant tightly against him until she stopped breathing.

"He's formally charged with Murder I in the death of the child, for, in essence, smothering her physically with his body," Pattelli said.

He said due to the fact that the victim was a child, the offense carries a 20- to 100-year sentence, if convicted.

Pattelli said Purser and his girlfriend were in a room together with the infant when the death occurred. They called police and Purser attempted CPR.

He said Purser initially said the infant was having difficulty breathing so he was holding her and the infant became unresponsive.

She died some 10 hours later, authorities said.

An autopsy did not reveal anything that would have caused the child to have trouble breathing.

Investigators believed Purser had caused the suffocation and talked to him again this week, Pattelli said.

"He eventually did admit that he had become frustrated and somewhat upset about his situation where he was providing most of the care," he said.

Pattelli said Purser admitted holding the child close to his chest for at least 5 minutes, knowing the child could not breathe.

After the child died, he attempted CPR, Pattelli said.

The Peoria JournalStar has video of a news conference with Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood, who said there was no evidence of other causes, such as blunt-force trauma or sudden infant death syndrome.

In the videot, Harwood stated the infant suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

"It's swelling of the brain, secondary to a lack of oxygen, which we related to suffocation," he said.

bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski


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