WILLIAMSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — A Williamston man has pled guilty to the murder of his 10-month-old daughter in 2017, District Attorney Seth Edwards announced Thursday morning.

Ricky Recarter Roberson, 53, pled guilty to Second Degree Murder and First Degree Sex Offense. Superior Court Judge Wayland J. Sermons, Sr., sentenced Roberson to a minimum of 23 years and a maximum of 392 months (32.6 years) in the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction.

Roberson was arrested nearly five years ago and was charged at the time with first-degree sexual offense and murder, Williamston police said back in 2017.

According to District Attorney Seth Edwards, on January 29, 2017, at approximately 8:20 am, Roberson dialed 911 and reported that his daughter was unresponsive. Emergency personnel responded and found the child was cold to the touch, indicating she had been dead for some time. Efforts to revive the child were unsuccessful. Nurses at Martin General Hospital noted what appeared to be blood in the child’s rectal area and in her diaper.

Interviews were conducted by officers the Williamston Police Department and the NC State Bureau of Investigation with the child’s mother, who said she and Roberson lived in separate homes in Williamston. She allowed her daughter to spend weekends with Roberson.

Edwards’ office said the child’s mother came to Roberson’s home one weekend and was upset that he and another man were drinking and smoking marijuana. An argument broke out but the mother allowed the child to remain with Roberson, telling authorities the child was fine when she left.

Edwards’ office also indicated significant autopsy findings included hemorrhaging of the rectal area as well as internally surrounding her colon in addition to injuries to her spinal cord. The medical examiner determined the cause of death to the infant to be from traumatic neck injuries.

Officials said Roberson admitted to law enforcement that he had drank heavily on the night of this incident and recognized that the child was in his sole custody in the hours leading up to the child’s death.

“As in most cases, we still have a few unanswered questions,” Edwards said in a press release announcing Roberson’s plea. “However, we know this was no accident based upon the child’s injuries,” he said.