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Marysville-area man formally charged with murder in the second degree for infant death

MARYSVILLE — The Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office filed formal charges of murder in the second degree against 20-year-old James Fryberg Nov. 20, after his bail was set at $100,000 Nov. 18.

On Nov. 17, Fryberg surrendered to Marysville Police and was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation in the May 14 death of Damoniko Ashby, the 15-month-old son of Fryberg's girlfriend.

When Marysville Police and Fire responded to a 911 call May 14 about an unresponsive infant at a two-story apartment in the 7400 block of 47th Avenue NE, they found the child was already dead on their arrival. Fryberg told Marysville Police detectives that the child had fallen down the stairs May 13 after 9 p.m. while Fryberg was babysitting him, but an autopsy by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner on May 15 indicated that the death was not from natural causes, and was instead the result of blunt trauma.

According to on-scene detectives, the child's body bore no evidence of falling down the carpeted stairs, nor did the stairwell show any signs that someone had fallen down it.

According to the police report, relatives of the child's mother told detectives that the child began showing unexplained bruises when his mother and her boyfriend, who had been dating for two months, first moved into the 47th Avenue apartment two months before the child's death. The night of the reported fall was the second time that Fryberg had been left alone with the child, who had a black eye and a swollen face after the first time Fryberg was left alone with him, according to the report.

Fryberg told police that, on May 13, he heard the child fall, and said that the child fell asleep on the couch after Fryberg picked him up and gave him a bottle. Fryberg reported that when he woke up May 14 at approximately 1 p.m. the child wasn't breathing, approximately 12 hours after he'd been gasping for breath. According to the police report, detectives concluded that Fryberg was "the only person that could have caused the injuries" which resulted in the child's death.

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