A Kelso man is being held on $1 million bail after police said he shook his girlfriend's 1-month-old baby to death.
On Friday night, police arrested 20-year-old Christopher Everett after his girlfriend's son was found with severe injuries and not breathing.
After responding to the couple's house in Kelso, paramedics used a LifeFlight helicopter to take the child to OHSU. Doctors said the boy had a broken arm, fractured ribs and bruising on his brain. The child died at the hospital Sunday.
Through a video feed from jail, Everett made his first court appearance Monday and was charged with the murder of 1-month-old James Childers.
Outside the courtroom, friends and relatives tried to console the baby's mother, Briana Childers. Her friend, Justice Mendez, told FOX 12 that Briana Childers and Everett had been a couple for the past eight months. She said Everett treated the baby like his own.
"She, [Childers], believes Chris did it. But she wasn't home when it happened," said Mendez. "She just got a phone call that the baby stopped breathing. I don't know why she thinks he would do that because he wouldn't."
At first, police said Everett claimed he put the baby to bed, checked on him later and found him face down and not breathing so he called for help right away.
Then, after hearing about the baby's injuries, Everett changed his story, police said, claiming he actually performed CPR and then shook the baby for one to two minutes to get a response.
Alex Bjorum, the baby's biological father, attended Everett's court appearance and said his whole family is devastated.
"My family's struggling very hard to overcome this, but both families are sticking together and helping each other out", said Bjorum.
Bjorum said he doesn't know Everett and he had no idea that Everett was spending time alone with his son. He said a lot of people are grieving.
"If I could say anything to the community, I'd say cherish your child. Hold onto them tight because you never know when the universe is going to take them away from you," he said.
Last December, Everett was a suspect in another similar case in which a baby was found with a broken leg.
Everett was never arrested or charged, but in light of the new case, investigators said they will likely take another look at that incident.
Everett will be back in court on Oct. 10.
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