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Tulalip resident charged with murder in infant's death

EVERETT — Tulalip resident James Fryberg, 20, was charged Dec. 4 in Snohomish County Superior Court with murder in the second degree in the May 14 death of Damoniko Ashby, the 15-month-old son of Fryberg's girlfriend.

Fryberg surrendered to Marysville Police and was booked into the Snohomish County Jail Nov. 17 for investigation. His bail was set at $100,000 Nov. 18, but he's since posted bail and remains free.

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.

Fryberg told police that, on May 13, he heard the child fall to the bottom of the stairs, and said that the child fell asleep on the couch after Fryberg picked him up and gave him a bottle. Fryberg reported that he heard the child breathing at approximately 8 a.m. May 14, but when he woke up again approximately five hours later, the child wasn't breathing, approximately 12 hours after the child had been gasping for breath.

According to Snohomish County Medical Examiner Dr. Norman Thiersch, the child had numerous injuries and had died as a result of blunt trauma. The child's blows to the head were inconsistent with a fall and it appeared he'd been kicked in the stomach, which caused severe hemorrhaging, according to court papers.

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. Detectives concluded that Fryberg was "the only person that could have caused the injuries" which resulted in the child's death.

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 before, first moved into the 47th Avenue apartment two months before the child's death.

The night of the reported fall was the first time that Fryberg had been in charge of the child for more than half an hour. The child had a black eye and a swollen face after visiting Fryberg's family three weeks before, according to Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Hal Hupp, but Fryberg blamed the child's injuries on the family's dog.

The mother of one of Fryberg's children told investigators that he's assaulted her and can't stand to hear a baby cry when he's using oxycodone.

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