Spokane Valley Police said Thursday that the death of 9-month-old Aubrey Smith was likely an accident, possibly the result of her drowning in a 5-gallon plastic bucket.
Police were called to a home in the 4500 block of East Third at 6:50 a.m. Wednesday after the girl’s father found her not breathing and called paramedics. They were unable to revive her and the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s office determined the cause of death to be asphyxia.
The baby was found upside down in a plastic bucket placed next to the bed, said police spokesman Cpl. Dave Reagan.
The bucket had been used to cool drinks and still held a melted plastic bag of ice and several inches of water. Police said the baby could have died because of her upside-down position, suffocation caused by the plastic bag on her face or drowning.
Police originally said the girl had been found hanging off the foot of the bed and did not mention the bucket. They did label the infant’s death “unusual” and launched an investigation. “That was one of the unusual circumstances we weren’t ready to discuss,” Reagan said. “This whole thing is unusual.”
Reagan said investigators have nothing that indicates it wasn’t an accidental death, but the investigation is continuing.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.