Police: 2-year-old victim dies, mom's boyfriend remains in jail - KPTV - FOX 12

Police: 2-year-old assault victim dies, mom's boyfriend remains in jail

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Joshua Howard, booking photo Joshua Howard, booking photo
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A 2-year-old boy who suffered critical injuries has died and his mother's boyfriend is behind bars.

Officers responded to the Unicorn Motel, 3040 S.E. 82nd Ave., at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on the report of a young child who was unconscious.

According to court documents, Joshua Howard, 28, told police he was giving the boy a shower, left the child alone in the bathroom and then heard a thump.

The first officer at the scene said he detected a slight pulse from the boy and performed CPR. The officer noted that the child was dry and had bruising on his forehead, a probable cause affidavit states.

The child was rushed to Oregon Health & Science University, where doctors said he had a pulse but no apparent brain activity and had bleeding on his brain.

As detectives continued interviewing Howard, they said his story changed.

First he said he "tossed or dropped" the victim in the bathroom and was upset because the boy had thrown up on the bed and was crying, according to court documents.

Police said he then later admitted to dragging the boy into the bathroom and throwing him with a lot of force into the front of the toilet.

Court documents state the suspect told police after injuring the boy, he put him in the bathtub in cold water to try to revive him.

"Defendant also stated that he deserved to be charged with murder and to receive the harshest punishment for what he had done to the victim," court documents state.

Police contacted the boy's mother, who said Howard often hit the child, but she didn't intervene because she felt that would only make him more violent toward the boy, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Police said the boy died at 5 p.m. Thursday at the hospital.

The child's long list of injuries included a skull fracture, left jaw fracture, retinal hemorrhages, brain swelling and bruising to his eyelids, neck, forearm, both thighs and spine.

Doctors said a great deal of force would have been required to cause a brain injury that serious, court documents state.

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office will present the case next week to a grand jury, where additional charges, including aggravated murder, will be considered.

On Thursday night, Howard remained in jail on charges of attempted aggravated murder, assault and criminal mistreatment.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective Tom Walker at 503-823-0254, thomas.walker@portlandoregon.gov; or Detective Mark Sponhauer at 503-823-0416, mark.sponhauer@portlandoregon.gov.

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