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Michaela Cross, 1-month old baby [Update]

Michaela Cross, a 1-month-old baby girl, died Thursday, Aug. 11, after sustaining trauma in the 600 block of Magnolia Avenue in Long Beach, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Fire Department paramedics responded to a report of an infant in cardiac arrest about 6:30 a.m., according to a Long Beach Police Department news release. When officials arrived, they tried to save Michaela, who was 31 days old, but pronounced the girl dead, police said.

An autopsy confirmed investigators' "suspicions that the infant's death was not accidental," officials said. Additionally, the child's body showed evidence of ongoing physical abuse. Coroner’s records classified Michaela as a battered child.

The baby's parents, Michael Cross, a 42-year-old black man, and Melissa Swanson, a 34-year-old white woman, both Long Beach residents, were charged Aug. 16 by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office with one count each of willful cruelty to a child that caused death, police said. Cross was also charged with drug possession.

Cross and Swanson are each being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Their next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 23 at  Long Beach Superior Court.

[Updated Dec. 27: On Tuesday, Dec. 27, in L.A. County Superior Court in Long Beach, Cross and Swanson both pleaded not guilty to child abuse causing death. Cross also pleaded not guilty to one count of possessing cocaine.

Michaela was their first and only child, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Carol Rose. “It’s just so unfortunate that a 31-day-old, born healthy baby was abused so much that they caused her death.”

Cross and Swanson are each being held in lieu of $250,000 bail. A pretrial conference with Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2012.]

Anyone with information on Michaela's death is asked to call Det. Greg Krabbe or Det. Mark Bigel at (562) 570-7244. Anonymous tips via text or Web may be submitted by visiting the Long Beach Police website, www.longbeach.gov/police.

-- Robert J. Lopez and Rosanna Xia

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