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Court docs: Infant suffered injuries needing medical attention twice before death last week

Aug. 16, 2021 Updated Mon., Aug. 16, 2021 at 9:33 p.m.

A 19-month-old girl who died after suffering head injuries doctors believe were in line with child abuse had twice previously needed medical help for similar injuries while in the care of her mother’s boyfriend, according to court documents filed Friday.

According to an affidavit, Mickey E. Brown Jr. told detectives he had been taking care of Azaelia Raine RedHorse Jones on Aug. 4 when she suffered a seizure. Brown, 19, said he placed her in a cold shower before deciding to take her to his brother’s house; as he was running across the street he tripped and fell on the child, he told detectives.

Spokane Valley fire officials responded to the scene around 5:30 p.m. after Brown’s brother called police to report that the child had stopped breathing on her own. Brown told detectives they tried to perform CPR on the toddler in the meantime.

Around the same time, the girl’s mother, 19-year-old Cloee Matthews, was notified while at work that her daughter had stopped breathing and did not have a pulse. The fire department called police due to the “suspicious nature” of Azaelia’s injuries, according to court documents. Azaelia was already on her way to Sacred Heart Medical Center, where a nurse had to manually help the child breathe.

When detectives followed up with the doctor, the medical professional told them the child suffered traumatic brain bleeding, hemorrhage in both eyes, several scratches on her chest, knee and left side of her forehead. She also had “abnormal” bruises on her ears and forehead, according to court documents.

In the doctor’s opinion, this was all indicative of abusive head trauma and purposeful child abuse, court documents say.

Brown said the only time he could think of that would cause injuries to Azaelia would be when one of his dogs knocked her over in the yard, according to court documents.

The girl’s mother told detectives she had left her daughter with Brown for four or five days while she worked at a new job. She’d been dating Brown for about two months and the three of them lived at Brown’s place on Second Avenue in Spokane Valley, she told detectives.

She said she was current on her pediatrician visits and before Azaelia’s injuries, the pediatrician said the girl was in good health. The mother denied all abuse and said she was cautious with whom she let take care of her child.

Azaelia’s mother also said her daughter had suffered injuries requiring either medical consultation or hospitalization two different times. On both of these occasions, the mother said Azaelia had been in Brown’s care , though court documents did not detail the nature of the injuries or hospital visits.

Based on the doctor’s opinion of Azaelia’s injuries, police arrested and charged Brown with first-degree assault of a child. As of Monday the charges had not been upgraded, according to the Spokane County court viewer.

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