Man, mother cited for throwing child off Montesano bridge

KING 5's Drew Mikkelsen reports.

MONTESANO, Wash. (KING) -- A woman and a man accused of throwing the woman's 4-year-old son off a train bridge into a river near Montesano last weekend have been cited for reckless endangerment. On Wednesday morning the state took the boy and another sibling into custody. 

A Department of Social and Health Services spokesperson could not give details as to why the children were taken. The spokesperson said both children are safe.

The incident happened Wednesday, August 24, at the Devonshire Road train bridge, a popular gathering spot for swimmers along the Wynoochee River.

According to the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office, people called police to report a child had been thrown off a bridge. A video posted to Facebook by witnesses shows an adult hurling a young boy from a railroad bridge into the river.

“He was screaming and crying, it was terrible,” said Brianna Jones, who was swimming nearby with a group of friends.

“As soon as he hit the water, my heart sank, I felt so bad, I didn’t know what to do,” said Kaylub Fawley, who shot the video Wednesday.

He said he was about to take a photo of his buddy when he noticed the activity on the bridge above.

“I saw the little boy and I had a gut feeling, I was like alright I got to start recording this, and as soon as I started recording, he went off,” said Fawley, who called the police and provided them with a copy of the video.

Witnesses say several people were yelling at the man on the trestle to not throw the child, but the man did anyway. Witnesses say the child's mom swam to where the child was going to land before the child was thrown, and the child was wearing a life jacket.

Deputies and a Washington State Patrol trooper arrived at the scene and found the child and his mother, a 22-year-old woman from Aberdeen. An aid unit examined the child and concluded 4-year-old was not hurt.

Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office shared more details on the incident: 

The mother initially told deputies that she had lost sight of her son and then all of the sudden, noticed an adult male throw her son from the bridge. She eventually stated that her child had kept asking her to jump off of the bridge however she continued to tell him no. Shortly thereafter, a man she had just met at the river had her son on the bridge and said he was going to throw her son off of the bridge.The mother claimed it was at this point that she agreed to it and swam out into the water.The man then threw her son into the river and the mother retrieved him.   

Deputies found the man, a 35-year-old Aberdeen resident, nearby. He acknowledged he just met the woman and her child at the river, and said "the child wanted to jump and he was just trying to help the 4 year old off the bridge safely."

Deputies believe the man was under the influence of alcohol when they questioned him.

After conferring with investigators, prosecutors cited both the mother and the 35-year-old man with Reckless Endangerment; the man was also cited for Criminal Trespass 2nd degree for being on the trestle.

Reckless Endangerment is a gross misdemeanor that can be punished by up to 364 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree is a misdemeanor that can be punished by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Aberdeen police assisted the state when it took the children into custody on Wednesday and reported they ran into problems at the Aberdeen home.

According to Aberdeen Police Lt. Kevin Darst, a family dog attacked two police officers. Darst said the dog tried to bite the leg of a female officer and knocked the officer back. Another officer tried using a taser to stop the dog, but that didn't work. Darst said the officer ended up hitting the dog and getting it under control.

The dog was seized and is in custody at the Aberdeen animal shelter.

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Copyright 2016 KING


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