Eastern Washington Man Charged in ‘Negligence’ Death of 14-Month-Old Daughter

Source: Google News

Garrett Cabeza / The Spokesman-Review

A 27-year-old Spokane man has been charged in the death of his 14-month-old daughter after police allege a dresser fell on the girl while she and the man’s 2-year-old son were locked in the children’s bedroom for more than 16 hours without food or water.

Ryan J. Beamis made his first appearance in Spokane County Superior Court Friday on suspicion of second-degree manslaughter for the girl’s death in 2021 at a South Hill apartment. Court Commissioner John Stine released Beamis on his own recognizance, citing Beamis’ minimal criminal history and the fact the state determined Beamis was fit to have custody of his son.

Around 4 p.m. July 3, 2021, the Spokane Fire Department responded to 3024 E. 30th Ave. for a call that the 1-year-old child, Scarlet, wasn’t breathing, according to a probable cause affidavit. Firefighters determined Scarlet was dead when they arrived.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office said she died of “traumatic asphyxia,” according to documents.

A candlelight vigil was held in Scarlet’s memory shortly after her death at the South Hill apartment complex.

One of the vigil organizers who lived at the complex said at the time that Scarlet’s death will forever leave an “emptiness” in the complex.

Beamis told police the children were put to bed around midnight, or about 16 hours prior to her death. He said he checked on the children when he woke up around 1:30 p.m. that day. Beamis told police he saw his son on the floor asleep but did not see Scarlet.

He said he went to wake the two children up around 4 p.m. and found Scarlet under the dresser in the closet. Beamis said she was not breathing and the dresser was crushing her.

Police believe the 2-year-old son tried to lift the dresser off of Scarlet, documents said.

The mother told police she got home from work around 3 a.m. July 3 and did not check on the children. She said she and Beamis watched television, smoked cigarettes and went to bed.

She said they woke up later that day and smoked more cigarettes outside before Beamis checked on the children around 4 p.m. and discovered Scarlet dead.

A neighbor said the mother came to her apartment to call 911.

A detective noted a large dog and several cats inside the couple’s home as well as a “strong odor of urine and other foul odors” when he searched it, the affidavit said. The house was dirty and there appeared to be smeared feces on the walls, carpet and toys inside the children’s room. A crib-sized mattress was on the floor in the closet and had a stain consistent with blood, according to documents.

In April 2022, detectives determined there was probable cause to arrest Beamis on suspicion of manslaughter, according to a Spokane police news release. Detectives obtained a signed warrant and booked Beamis into jail Thursday, about 11/2 years after the death.

Beamis appeared virtually in front of Stine Friday. Prosecutors asked Stine to impose a $50,000 bond while an attorney for Beamis requested a lower bond. Beamis has no felony convictions and his last misdemeanor conviction was in 2014.

Stine said there is “an extreme amount of negligence present” in this case. Beamis is scheduled for an arraignment Jan. 25.

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