10:37 AM: That photo is from last Sunday night at an apartment building in the 6500 block of California SW in Morgan Junction. We went there twice that evening to ask about a police presence that lasted for several hours, and were told both times that it involved the death of a child but that it was not being investigated as a homicide. That has since changed. As first reported this morning by our regional partners at The Seattle Times, a 20-year-old woman is in jail, arrested on Thursday for investigation of homicide. The Times quotes the suspect’s boyfriend as saying he is the father of the 17-month-old boy who died. Seattle Police media relations Officer Lauren Lovanhill tells WSB that she has no further comment so far, but that they are gathering information. We’ll also find out more after the suspect appears before a judge at the downtown jail later today. So far, online records don’t show any felony criminal history for her. If this continues to be treated as a homicide case, it would be the first one in West Seattle since the still-unsolved shooting death of Stephen Jeffries Jr. on New Year’s Eve 2013.
10:53 AM: A short item has just been published on SPD Blotter, saying the toddler’s father called 911 on Sunday after finding his son “unresponsive in his crib” and that medics were unable to revive the child.
3:51 PM: The suspect waived her court appearance, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, so the hearing was held without her. According to court documents made public in connection with the hearing, the suspect is not the victim’s biological mother; she and her 2-year-old son (by another man) had been living with the victim and his father at the apartment for the past half-year or so. The court documents say the victim was at Children’s Hospital for something unrelated one week earlier when a CPS referral was made because of “bruises and scratches,” but the father reportedly attributed it to “normal toddler activity,” the police report says, and the child was sent home with him. Last Sunday afternoon, he told police that he had left his son with his girlfriend while he went to the store. When he got back, he found his son dead in his crib and called 911. The Medical Examiner determined two days later that “abdominal trauma” was what had killed the toddler. Under questioning by detectives, court documents say, she admitted kicking him in the abdomen twice after getting mad at him and her son for fighting over a toy. The first kick, she told police, knocked him down, and she kicked him again; a short time later, she discovered he wasn’t breathing. The probable-cause documents also say a couple who stayed with the suspect and her boyfriend earlier in the month reported seeing the woman display unusual anger toward her boyfriend’s son whenever the toddler cried. Today’s hearing resulted in an order to set her bail at $1 million; prosecutors have until early next week to file charges.
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