Thursday, July 30, 2009

Man Could Face Homicide Charge After 2-year-old Dies

A 26-year-old East Bremerton man who was arrested Monday after a child in his care suffered a head injury so severe he was left brain dead could now be facing a homicide charge.

Life support to the two-year-old boy was discontinued at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma Tuesday night and the child was pronounced dead just after 10 p.m., according to Kitsap County Sheriff's Office spokesman Scott Wilson.

According to deputies, the man called 911 from the family's apartment in the 2500 block of Northeast McWilliams Road on Monday to report that his fiancé's son had fallen against a night table and was unconscious.

Wilson said physicians told deputies the child's injuries were inconsistent with the man's story.

According to Wilson, one doctor said, "Had the child been riding unrestrained in the back seat of a vehicle that was involved in a head-on collision, causing the child to fly through the front windshield headfirst, he would have sustained a less serious injury than he had received."

The state's Child Protective Services (CPS) received a referral on the family June 24 after the boy was taken to the emergency room with a cut on his leg. The boy's mother said the injury occurred while the boy was playing in the backyard, according to Sherry Hill with the state office of Children's Administration.

CPS determined that the referral was low risk, but there appeared to be a lack of supervision for the child and the family was referred for family therapy services, Hill said.

Deputies also determined that the child had fallen from a second-story window about 10 days before his death, according to Wilson. The child was treated for that injury at the emergency room where the mother claimed the boy's injuries had resulted from another playground accident. Evidence of other, older injuries were also discovered on the child's body, according to Wilson.

According to Wilson, the man had three children of his own and his fiancé, a 25-year-old woman, had two, including the toddler who died.

On Monday, deputies and case workers from CPS took the four remaining children into protective custody.

The children have been placed into temporary foster homes, Wilson said.

Deputies are still investigating whether the mother had any involvement in the child's death.

"If we find out that she was implicated in it, or knew about it and did nothing, then charges against her are certainly possible," Wilson said.

The man is being held on $500,000 bail in Kitsap County Jail on investigation of first-degree child assault, but Kitsap County prosecutor Chris Casad said the man could face a charge of homicide.

Charges are expected to be filed Thursday.

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