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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Defense attorneys offered up another explanation for Kylie Delgado’s death Wednesday, presented by Dr. Patrick Lantz, who questioned the assertion that the baby’s father killed her.

“Based on my review, I don’t think she died as a result of a homicide,” Lantz said in the first day of defense testimony in the court-martial of Seaman Recruit Jonathan Delgado. The Misawa sailor is accused of shaking his daughter to death on July 15, 2006, in the Misawa Air Base apartment he shared with his active-duty wife.

Lantz, an associate professor of pathology at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and the defense’s expert witness, stopped using the term “shaken baby syndrome” years ago, as it is misdiagnosed in some cases, he said.

“People use that term to mean a number of things,” Lantz said in the Yokosuka Naval Base courtroom. “There’s no doubt that children do get abused. Sometimes that’s obvious … in other cases, the diagnosis oversteps the data.”

He made a case for delayed sudden infant death syndrome, showing slides of the autopsied ribs, eyes and brains of infants.

Those babies had injuries similar to Kylie’s — a brain hemorrhage, blood in her retinas and three fractured ribs — but had different causes and manner of death, he said.

After showing Kylie’s injuries, Lantz said Kylie likely had SIDS when the 22-year-old Delgado awoke to find her unresponsive in the bed beside him.

Efforts to revive her, performed first by Delgado’s friend David Kan and later by Misawa hospital medical staff, may have gotten her heart beating, but they were just delaying the SIDS effect, he said.

Kylie was declared brain dead after she was transported to U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, where life support was withdrawn July 17, 2006.

“It was a natural manner of death,” Lantz said, a conclusion he said he reached by reviewing the baby’s medical records, Naval Criminal Investigative Service statements and autopsy information.

Lantz was to be cross-examined Thursday.

Also called to the stand was Misawa NCIS Special Agent Adam Kallestad, who was the case agent.

On two occasions, NCIS used a wiretap to listen to conversations between Delgado and Kan, Kallestad said. Kan knew about the wiretap, and they yielded no admissions of guilt from Delgado, Kallestad said.

He also said the crime scene was “contaminated” because at least five people had been there in the 36 hours between the ambulance’s departure and the official securing of the scene.

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