A 20-year-old woman is accused of kicking her boyfriend’s son so hard his internal organs were torn, according to court documents.
A 20-year-old woman accused of kicking her boyfriend’s 17-month-old son in the stomach so hard that his liver, pancreas and intestines tore is being held on $1 million bail after a judge found probable cause on Friday to hold her in custody.
The woman, who is not being named because she has not been formally charged, was arrested Thursday after police served a search warrant on the West Seattle apartment she shared with the boy’s father.
She is being held on investigation of murder, court documents say.
The woman waived her appearance in King County District Court on Friday, but is scheduled to make a court appearance on Tuesday, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
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According to the document of probable cause outlining the case, medics were called to the home in the 6500 block of California Avenue Southwest on Sunday afternoon after the toddler, Drue Lehto, was found unresponsive in his crib.
The boy’s father, Derek Lehto, 30, said his girlfriend had been giving the boy a bath — and that everything was fine — when he went to the store for gas and cigarettes. When he returned, his girlfriend said she’d laid the boy down for a nap.
Just a few minutes later, she cried out and said something was wrong with the baby, Lehto said on Friday.
“When she gave him to me, I could tell he was lifeless,” he said.
Lehto said he yelled for her to call 911, laid the boy down and performed CPR on him until medics arrived.
The child was taken to Swedish Medical Center, where he was declared dead. Police said the boy had blood coming out of his ear and vomit on his face.
The officer who informed Lehto that his son had died also told him that the boy “had been dead longer than you think,” Lehto said.
On Tuesday, the King County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and found the toddler had died of “substantial abdominal trauma” and ruled the death a homicide, according to the probable-cause document.
Lehto said his son weighed about 4 pounds when he was born a month early.
“I was the first person he saw, and I knew that it would be him and me together forever, that he was my life,” he said.
When he learned the boy’s mother had started using drugs with a co-worker, he divorced her and gained full custody of the boy, he said.
When he first met his son’s suspected killer — who has a 2-year-old of her own — he was thrilled, he said.
“She didn’t say, ‘Let’s go party.’ She said, ‘Let’s take the boys to a park,’ ” he said.
The woman moved into his apartment about six months ago, he said.
According to the court document, detectives interviewed friends of the couple who had stayed with them for a few days in mid-September. Both reportedly said that Lehto was a very patient father, but that his girlfriend became “extremely agitated when the victim cried,” and they were concerned about the level of anger aimed at him, police wrote.
The friends also said the girlfriend struggles with drug addiction.
Lehto said that on Wednesday night his girlfriend had tried several times to kill herself by cutting her legs and trying to jump out of a moving vehicle.
Stephanie McDowell, a friend of both Lehto and his girlfriend, started a You Caring crowdfunding account to help Lehto pay for the boy’s funeral and get through the next stretch.
“He’s an incredibly wonderful father, and he’s just broken,” she said.
Lehto said, “He was all that I had. He’s my life. This is like a horrible nightmare that I can’t wake up from.”