Mother arrested in death of baby

A former Port Orchard woman was arrested Wednesday for the apparent beating death of her toddler last February, the Port Orchard Police Department reported.

According to the POPD, the 22-year-old woman was booked into Kitsap County Jail May 28 for rendering criminal assistance in the suspected homicide of her 22-month-old girl in Port Orchard. She was released the following day without being charged with a crime.

“At this point, we are waiting for the POPD to submit all their investigation reports,” said Kitsap County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Hull, explaining that the woman had not been charged as of Thursday, “but that could change. The investigation is still ongoing.”

Also on Thursday, the POPD issued a warrant of arrest for the mother’s 29-year-old boyfriend, now a resident of Spanaway, for his involvement in the alleged crime.

The investigation began on Feb. 23 when the child was brought to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton complaining of stomach pain.

According to the probable cause statement, medical staff could not determine the cause of the pain, but noticed multiple bruises on the child that were consistent with abuse, including some in the shape of hands and fingers.

Hours after arriving, the baby died at the hospital of causes unknown at the time. When officers interviewed the mother and her boyfriend, the mother said her child was “fine” when they arrived home the night before at around midnight, but within an hour she was complaining of stomach pain.

The boyfriend told police that “at one point, he grabbed the child about the abdomen and lifted her above his head, in an effort to cheer (her) up.”

Medical staff described some of the child’s bruising as being consistent with someone “grabbing the infant around the waist and squeez(ing) hard enough to leave bruises, where the fingertips pressed against the flesh.”

According to the POPD, the final autopsy report on the child revealed that she died from multiple, blunt-force impacts to the head and abdomen. One blow “perforated the large intestine and caused intra-abdominal hemorrhage,” which was determined to have caused her death.

“The events surrounding this child’s death are, frankly, disturbing and senseless and despicable,” POPD Chief Al Townsend said. “It is beyond my comprehension how anyone could harm a child in such a manner.”

At the time of the child’s death, the mother was living with her boyfriend at a small duplex on the 500 block of Perry Avenue. Shortly after the child died, the couple moved to Spanaway, officers said.

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