COLDWATER, Mich. (WOOD) — Prosecutors have dropped the case against a Branch County man who was charged with the 2019 death of his 5-month-old daughter.
Branch County Prosecutor Zach Stempien announced Tuesday that he was dismissing charges of felony murder, second-degree murder and second-degree child abuse against Coleman Royer, 31, in connection to the death of Luna Royer.
“Based upon this office’s review of the scientific/medical evidence gathered in this case, various witness statements, digital evidence obtained by the investigating agency, and the possibility that another person may be at fault for the death of the victim, this office is left with the opinion that this case should not be presented to a jury until a single suspect can be determined,” Stempien said in a statement.
He called it a “difficult decision” and noted that his office could choose to issue the charges again in the future.
“Our office, in conjunction with the Coldwater Police Department, remains committed to bringing justice to the victim in this case and will continue to investigate this matter,” he stated.
Luna died at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor on Feb. 14, 2019, two days after she reportedly fell from a swing. Hospital records showed she had suffered multiple broken bones and abusive head trauma.
“Findings are consistent with child abuse,” doctors wrote in a medical report.
The pursuit of Royer’s case was slowed by the pandemic.
Branch County court records show Luna’s mother Ashley King was charged in November 2021 with felony child abuse for an incident that allegedly occurred three months before the baby died. That case is still working its way through the court system.
Anyone with information about Luna’s death was asked to call the Branch County Prosecutor’s Office at 517.279.4319 or Coldwater police at 517.278.4525.