When a young mother called 911 Saturday to report that a dresser had fallen on her 14-month-old girl, first responders rushed to her South Hill apartment complex only to find that the toddler had been dead for hours.
The emergency call came in at about 4 p.m. from a phone belonging to a neighbor of the 20-year-old mother, according to a search warrant filed Thursday.
The Spokane Fire Department arrived first to the apartment complex located at 3024 E. 30th Ave. The mother came out of the apartment as firefighters arrived.
A firefighter took the little girl and immediately knew she was dead. The toddler was stiff and cold to the touch, according to the search warrant.
When Spokane Police arrived a short time later, officers went to check out the apartment, according to court documents. The mother told the officer that a dresser had fallen on her daughter.
An officer entered the apartment and went to the bedroom shared by the toddler and her 3-year-old sibling. The officer found one mattress on the floor in the main part of the room and another mattress in the closet, according to the search warrant. Near the mattress in the closet there was a dresser, that was upright with some of the drawers ajar, the officer wrote in the search warrant.
The entire apartment was in disarray, the officer said. The mother told police that she had worked the night shift the day before and left the apartment at about 5 p.m., leaving the two toddlers with their 25-year-old father.
When she came home at 2:30 a.m. the mother said she didn’t check on her children and went to bed. She awoke about 1 p.m. The mother said she didn’t have any interaction with her children until about 3 p.m. that afternoon when she got them from their bedroom and fed them peanuts, according to the search warrant.
After their snack, she told police she put the toddlers back in their bedroom and didn’t see them again until her boyfriend called out saying the dresser had fallen on their youngest child.
The father told police that he stayed home the night before while the mother was at work, according to the search warrant. He said he put the toddlers to bed at about midnight then stayed up to wait for their mother to come home.
The father said he didn’t check on the children or interact with them until moments before the 911 call just after 4 p.m., when he went to check on them and discovered the dresser had fallen on the little girl.
He said the girl child was on her back on the mattress when the dresser tipped over.
The Spokane County Medical Examiner investigator who conducted the initial examination said the girl had several bruises at various stages of healing, according to the search warrant. He also told police that the child had been dead much longer than an hour, which contradicted the mother’s claims that she had fed the children an hour prior to the 911 call.
The 3-year-old toddler who shared the room, was wearing a diaper when police arrived and was “very dirty,” according to the search warrant. Child Protective Services was called and took custody of the 3-year-old, according to the search warrant.
Police are investigating the incident as a homicide and criminal mistreatment, according to the search warrant. The Spokane County Medical Examiner listed both the cause and manner of death as pending on Friday afternoon.
No one has been arrested.
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