'Hard to Process': Man Accused of Killing Baby in Alleged Arson Fire at Kansas Home of Ex

Multiple reports have identified the suspect, Nicholas Ecker, as the victim's father

Nicholas Adam Ecker
Photo: Shawnee Police

A Kansas man is facing first-degree murder and arson charges in connection to a house fire that killed his child, multiple outlets confirm.

The suspect, Prairie Village resident Nicholas Ecker, was arraigned Tuesday afternoon for his alleged involvement in the fire that happened before 1 a.m. Sunday in Shawnee, Kan.

A release obtained by PEOPLE from the Johnson County District Attorney's office stated the suspect is being held on a $1 million bond.

"It's hard to process something like this," family friend Cory Holmes told KMBC-TV.

The news outlet reported there is a memorial in remembrance of the child growing outside the house.

Both the Shawnee police and fire departments are investigating the case, police say.

"Just shock and awe, I'd never see anything like this happen to this family," Holmes added.

Police have not released information on the identity of the unknown child. WIBW reported the child was born in 2020.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

WIBW added that on Monday, the victim's mother posted photos and videos of the child on social media.

KMBC reported that prior to the fire Ecker was facing misdemeanor charges after breaking a protection order this month. It added the child's mother is the woman Ecker was prohibited from visiting.

On Monday, a GoFundMe account was created to help the family during the tragedy by a woman named Jackie Phelps, who claims to be the child's aunt.

"Please please please keep our family in your prayers. We need it badly! My beautiful baby nephew has gained his wings We love you Junior! Junior was so precious and such a good boy! He was Karlie's best friend and helped her go through hard times. Please pray for my sister, Karlie and her two kiddos, Ivan and Angelina. They have lost all of their belongings too from this horrific house fire," read a statement on the online fundraiser.

"Our family has gone through hard times lately but we will overcome. Thank you all for your support and love. Any cent counts and will help tremendously! We love you all."

By Tuesday afternoon the fundraiser had already exceeded its $5,000 goal.

"Our hearts go out to the family," said the Shawnee Fire Department Deputy Chief Corey Sands, per Newsweek. "Shawnee is a tight-knit community. Our hearts go out to everyone."

Related Articles