A 28-year-old Dodge City man was arrested Thursday on charges of child abuse and first degree murder in relation to the 2008 death of 3 1/2-year-old Natalie Pickle.
A 28-year-old Dodge City man was arrested Thursday on charges of child abuse and first degree murder in relation to the 2008 death of 3 1/2-year-old Natalie Pickle. Ford County Attorney Natalie Randall issued the following statement Friday about Brock Cunnngham's arrest: “The County Attorney’s Office wants justice for Natalie Pickle, and will decline to comment further until court proceedings have concluded. The County Attorney's Office would also like to remind the public that Mr. Cunningham is presumed innocent until proven guilty.” Pickle was severely injured Nov. 19, 2008, in Dodge City and died the next day in a Wichita hospital. Her death was ruled a homicide in early December of that year and the case has remained open since. Pickle's mother, Amanda Perry, was at work Nov. 19 and had left her children in Cunningham's care. An autopsy report from the Shawnee County Morgue in Topeka revealed Natalie had suffered a variety of injuries, including bruises to her scalp, hemorrhaging about her optic nerves and a right radial fracture. At the time of Pickle's death, Cunningham reportedly told investigators she had fallen off the bed. Cunningham has retained Wichita lawyer Dan Monnat as his counsel. In a Friday phone call with the Globe, Monnat shared a statement regarding Cunningham's arrest. "The death of young Natalie Pickle over four years ago was a tragic loss, but Brock Cunningham had nothing to do with causing her death. Brock tried to save Natalie's life that night, called 9-1-1, cooperated with law enforcement vigorously asserting his innocence of any crime even then. Today, again, Brock says 'I'm innocent and will proceed to jury trial unless these accusations are otherwise dismissed." Cunningham was released from the Ford County Detention Center less than 12 hours after his arrest on a $75,000 bond. His first appearance in court is set for Thursday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m. Follow Abigail on Twitter, @Abigail_dcglobe.