Justice for Strawberry: Bartow Father Charged in 4-Month-Old Daughter’s Death


In a devastating turn of events, the Polk County community reels from the news of a 4-month-old infant’s tragic death, allegedly at the hands of her own father. Jacob Kubai, 22, stands accused of the vicious murder of his daughter, Willow, whom he affectionately called “Strawberry.” The details emerging from the investigation paint a harrowing picture of abuse and neglect, leaving authorities and residents alike stunned and searching for answers.

On February 22, Bartow Regional Hospital called the Bartow Police Department after the infant arrived in cardiac arrest, showing no signs of brain activity and exhibiting suspicious physical injuries. Following stabilization, they transferred Willow to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, where doctors noted severe trauma.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office was soon involved in the investigation, revealing a chilling account of the infant’s injuries. Willow had suffered a skull fracture, multiple impact bruises to the forehead, and a staggering 10 fractured ribs, among other injuries. Despite her valiant struggle for survival, she succumbed to her injuries two days later.

Sheriff Grady Judd conveyed the brutality of the assault, noting a minimum of ten strikes to the infant’s forehead, along with evidence of squeezing leading to the rib fractures. The autopsy confirmed blunt force trauma to the head as the cause of death, ruling it a homicide.

Watch: Sheriff Grady Judd is giving details regarding a joint-investigation between the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Jacob Kubai, the infant’s father, provided conflicting accounts of the events leading to Willow’s death. He initially claimed to have taken her to Walmart before her collapse, but surveillance footage contradicted this. During interrogation, Kubai exhibited erratic behavior, alternating between denial and delusion, claiming that neither his wife nor the baby were real.

Kubai, without a criminal record or history of mental illness, faces severe charges, including aggravated manslaughter of a child and aggravated child abuse. As the investigation progresses, the community mourns Willow’s tragic loss and demands justice.