Exclusive interview with father charged with murder, sexual assault of 8-month-old girl in Inkster

James Lee Saltmarshall was released on bond Friday

DETROIT – Last week, James Lee Saltmarshall, 22, was charged with felony murder, first-degree child abuse and first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the death of his 8-month-old daughter.

He was released on bond Friday.

Local 4's Koco McAboy spoke with Saltmarshall after he was released from the Wayne County Jail.

When asked about his release, Saltmarshall told Local 4 that a medical examiner had told his lawyer there was no physical damage to his daughter.

“I’ve been told by my lawyer that she took my child out to the medical examiner and they basically said there was no physical damage to my child,” Saltmarshall said.

“I don’t know why people would think I would do that. I’ve been involved with CPS since my daughter was born,” he said.

“So that’s another reason why I don’t think I would do something like that to my child if I have to take my child to CPS almost every week, that really doesn’t make sense but hopefully, we can get to the bottom of it and go from there.”

When asked about the sexual-assault charge against him, he said:

“I was shocked. At the same time, I was told my daughter had passed two or three days prior. That’s why on the news you see me crying frantically and acting that way. I was told that my daughter was deceased and that I was charged with three felonies that I have never seen happen to me, seen only happen on TV, but they put me in jail since last Thursday.”

When asked about the events that took place the day his daughter died, Shaltmarshall responded:

“My daughter suffocated in my arms while I was sleeping, and while she was sleeping. I woke up and realized that my daughter was not breathing and the first thing I did was call the police," he said.

"As soon as the police came, they picked my daughter and put her in the truck for about 20 minutes and took her to the hospital. The cop then rushed me to the hospital."

He continued, 

"Once we get to the hospital, they start naming all these different types of injuries that were new to me."

Saltmarshall said he's glad he has been released.

“Finally out, get to be around family and get to actually mourn my daughters death.”


Prosecutors allege Saltmarshall was alone with his infant girl April 20 in a hotel in the 2600 block of Michigan Avenue when authorities were called because the child was unresponsive.

The child was in good health when the mother left for work in the morning. It is alleged Saltmarshall killed the child by causing trauma to her head. Other injuries were observed on the child. The infant died Sunday.

Saltmarshall was released from jail Friday on a $2 million personal bond.

He was ordered to undergo a competency examination and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 6.

The family of the infant created a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses. 

About the Authors:

Koco joined the Local 4 News team in September of 2016. She was born and raised in Metro Detroit, attended Central Michigan University, and previously worked at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.