What to Know
The toddler was rushed not breathing when she arrived at the hospital, and died a short time later.
The girl's father was just granted partial custody and this was the first time he cared for the girl alone, authorities said.
The girl's identity has not yet been released.
After a Banning father rushed the lifeless body of his 2-year-old daughter to the hospital with a head injury Tuesday, police alleged the girl's death was the result of child abuse.
A sergeant told NBC4 that it was apparent the child had been tortured. Police called it one of the worst cases of child abuse that they had ever seen.
The girl's father was in jail Wednesday morning on suspicion of felony child abuse causing great bodily harm or death, but it could eventually be upgraded to murder, police said.
The girl's father rushed the child to San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, Banning police said.
The child was not breathing, police said. She later died at the hospital.
Hospital staff said the girl had significant bruising on her face and body. Police concurred, saying the toddler was covered head to toe with bruises, which is why they believe she was tortured.
"We have evidence to show when the child left the mother she was in a good state, and had no injuries and here we are, the child has injuries that ultimately resulted in her death," Sgt. Mike Bennett told NBC4.
The man's identity was not released. He has not been cooperating with police, they said. The girl's mother has been cooperative.
The girl's mother said the father is her ex-boyfriend, and was recently granted partial custody.
It was the first time the toddler had visited her father alone, and police said the toddler had been with the man for five or six days.
Tuesday evening, investigators were gathering evidence from the Banning home.
They also cordoned off a blue Ford Mustang used to take the child to the hospital.
Family members had just celebrated the girl's birthday in October.
Anyone with information regarding the case was asked to call the Banning Police Department at (951) 922-3170.