$1.26m bail for man accused in baby-freezer case

TACOMA, Washington (AP) - Bail has been set at US$1 million (S$1.26 million) for a 25-year-old Washington state man accused of putting his six-week-old daughter in a minus 12-degree Celsius freezer for about an hour to stop her crying.

Doctors believe the baby will survive but it's too soon to know potential complications, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.

The child's core temperature fell to 29 degrees C in the freezer, prosecutors said. She also had a broken arm and leg and a head injury, medical staff determined.

Tyler James Deutsch pleaded not guilty to charges of child assault, criminal mistreatment and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence. He was represented by a public defender.

According to court papers, Deutsch gave Pierce County sheriff's officers several accounts but finally said he put the child in the freezer Saturday afternoon "because he was tired and she was crying."

Deutsch said he fell asleep, awoke as the baby's 22-year-old mother returned to their trailer in Roy, Washington state, and was removing the baby from the freezer as the mother came in, according to the prosecutor's account.

The baby was clothed when the mother left, charging papers said, but wore only a diaper when she was removed from the freezer.

The man is accused of taking a phone away when the mother tried to call for help. She took the child and got neighbours to call police, authorities said.

A tentative trial date was set for July 15.