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Kingston man charged with second-degree murder in baby’s death
KINGSTON — A Kingston man has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 4-month-old daughter, after he allegedly smoked meth and took the baby for a car ride. Attached to the charge is a special allegation of domestic violence. Bail was set at $1 million.
Hector Francisco Saavedra Ruiz, 21, of Kingston was arrested on July 21, four days after Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies and medics were called to his apartment after his daughter had stopped breathing. The infant was transported to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, and eventually to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma where she died on July 18.
Doctors treating the girl on July 17 said her injuries were caused by non-accidental trauma, possibly Shaken Baby Syndrome, according to a report from the Sheriff's Office. Doctors reportedly told deputies the baby had recently suffered prolonged lack of oxygen to her brain. The baby also had injuries to an eye, including a possible retinal detachment, which is possibly consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome, according to the report.
While being examined by doctors, it was also discovered that the baby had a healing rib fracture from a previous injury, according to the report. A July 21 autopsy of the girl — performed by a Pierce County medical examiner — revealed three finger bruises to the left side of her back, coinciding with the healing fractured rib, according to the report. Hemorrhaging under the skin at the back of the head and bruising in the lower abdominal area under the skin were also found. The medical examiner noted that the infant had a perforated colon caused by blunt force trauma.
Doctors have told sheriff's detectives that the baby likely suffered the injuries during a time frame when she was alone with her father.
Sheriff's deputies began questioning the mother and father of the baby on the night of the 911 call. The mother changed her story multiple times, but eventually deputies were able to decipher what allegedly happened that night.
According to an interview with the mother, she and Saavedra Ruiz are no longer a couple. She drove up from Olympia on July 16 so Saavedra Ruiz could visit with the baby. She picked Saavedra Ruiz up from a local Kingston restaurant where he works and they went to his apartment, according to the report.
After the baby was asleep in Saavedra Ruiz's room, the pair went into the bathroom and smoked methamphetamine, the mother told deputies. Saavedra Ruiz then wanted to take the baby back to his work to show her off, according to the report, but the mother did not agree. The two argued but the mother relented. The mother put the baby in a car seat and Saavedra Ruiz drove away.
She told deputies that Saavedra Ruiz was gone for about an hour then returned with the baby, who was not breathing and was pale. She reportedly said Saavedra Ruiz yelled for help when he returned to the apartment, knocking on neighbors' doors, according to the report. A neighbor attempted to perform CPR on the infant.
The mother also reportedly told deputies that the week prior, she left the baby with Saavedra Ruiz and afterward noticed three finger marks on the left side of her back, but the marks faded after a couple of days.
Deputies also interviewed Saavedra Ruiz the night of the incident. He reportedly said the baby initially cried when he drove the mile to his work, but then became quiet and he assumed she fell asleep. When he arrived at his work, he reportedly went to take the baby out of the car seat and she was not breathing. He unbuckled her and picked her up and heard her gasp, according to the report. Saavedra Ruiz reportedly told deputies that he then drove back to the apartment. That account differs from the mother’s, which placed Saavedra Ruiz away from the apartment for about an hour.
"I don't know how to do it," Saavedra Ruiz allegedly told deputies about his attempt to get the baby to breathe again. "I try, but I don't know how to do it."
Deputies interviewed Saavedra Ruiz's roommates, who reportedly saw him running to the apartment carrying the baby seat on the night of the incident. One roommate said that after entering the apartment, Saavedra Ruiz went into his bedroom. Then, after 10-20 minutes, the mother came out of the bedroom asking for help, according to the report.
Text messages from the mother's phone reportedly show communication between her and Saavedra Ruiz, including a text message from 11:52 p.m. on July 16 from the mother stating "Come home. It's been an hour. You have a baby. Be responsible. See, this is why I wanted to come with you. Come home!"
Another text message, allegedly from Saavedra Ruiz, was sent to the mother at 6:02 a.m. on July 17, after the baby was rushed to the hospital, stating, "You want me to go to prison."
On July 21, after the baby died, Saavedra Ruiz was read his Miranda rights through a Spanish interpreter, and he reportedly requested an attorney.