The child's father had briefly stepped away from the room when the dogs attacked, according to authorities

By Gabrielle Chung
May 26, 2021 07:17 PM
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Malia Scott Winberry
Credit: Facebook

A 10-month-old baby girl in Willow Spring, North Carolina, has died after she was attacked by her family's two dogs, according to authorities.

The incident occurred around 8 p.m. when the infant's father had briefly stepped away from the room to move a sprinkler in the yard, Johnston County Sheriff's Office Patrol Capt. Danny Johnson told reporters during a press briefing at the scene, WTVD reported.

"The father had left the small child inside the residence unattended for only a couple of minutes," Johnson said. "He heard a lot of commotion in the house, went back inside and found the baby unresponsive."

The father — who is a law enforcement officer — quickly called 911, but responding deputies and EMS workers' attempts to revive the child were unsuccessful, according to Johnson.

The baby girl was pronounced dead at the scene.

"It appears the family's dogs attacked the child and that is the reason for its death," Johnson said. "It's a bad scene anytime that a young child like that passes."

JCSO Criminal Investigations Capt. Jeff Caldwell identified the child as Malia Scott Winberry in a statement to WECT, calling the incident a "tragic accident."

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Scott Winberry and Bianca Patel for the tragic loss of their 10 month old daughter, Malia Scott Winberry," Caldwell said.

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Caldwell also said the dogs — two Rottweilers — were taken by animal control officials after the incident.

Johnston County Animal Control director Chad Massengill confirmed on Wednesday that the dogs have been deemed dangerous by the county, WRAL reported.

"It's very solemn around here this morning," Massengill told the outlet. "It's very difficult to deal with."