Father arrested in death of 2-month-old boy

EVERETT — Detectives have arrested an Everett area man for investigation in the death of his 2-month-old son who suffered what doctors called a “devastating brain injury.”

Brian Perez Reyes, 23, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail on Friday. He is being held for investigation of manslaughter and first-degree domestic violence child assault. His bail is $2 million.

The baby, identified in an obituary as Daniel Levi Perez Reyes, was taken to Swedish-Mill Creek medical center on Friday before being transferred to Seattle Children’s Hospital. A doctor there told detectives that the severity of the brain injury likely caused Daniel to stop breathing and that there was “no evidence of cognitive function,” court papers said. He died the next morning.

The baby’s mother told detectives that she had dropped him off at his father’s apartment in the 11600 block of Highway 99 while she went to work at a restaurant nearby. She said she checked on and snuggled the baby that evening and agreed to let him stay the night at the apartment because she had to return to work at 5 a.m. the next day.

Perez Reyes told detectives that he was sleeping with Daniel next to him on his bed. He moved him to a different position when he began to fuss around 3 a.m. and woke up at 4:30 a.m. when the baby woke up. He said he went to get a bottle and Daniel wasn’t breathing when he returned.

Perez Reyes told detectives that he tried to rouse his son by “jostling” him and the baby gasped, but again stopped breathing. He took the boy outside for air and then tried CPR, according to a police report. He then woke up his mother and they drove to the hospital.

When questioned by detectives, Perez Reyes allegedly said that he dropped the baby two to three feet from the ground when a cord became wrapped around his leg and he started to fall. He said the baby landed on his head. He called the injury an accident.

A doctor told detectives that the injury likely wasn’t caused by a fall. Instead, it likely was the result of “rapid acceleration, then rapid deceleration in succession.” In other words: violent shaking.

The suspect said he moved the baby two to three times. When he demonstrated the movement, it was what “most would consider a shaking motion,” detectives wrote in a police report.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe said an autopsy also showed injuries to the neck consistent with shaking.

“It didn’t come from a fall or being dropped as the defendant has described,” Roe said.

In addition to the $2 million bail, Perez Reyes has an immigration hold.

In the obituary, Daniel’s family said he was “a smiling, happy, smart, determined and strong child” who had been baptized in the Catholic Church.

Eric Stevick: stevick@heraldnet.com, 425-339-3446.

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