Everett man charged in assault that sent toddler to hospital

According to doctors, the 18-month-old girl apparently was strangled and hit in the head.

EVERETT — Shortly after he was arrested for investigation of injuring a toddler, an Everett man reportedly called his girlfriend from jail, demanding that she help him make bail.

“You sold me out and you better (expletive) make it right,” he said, according to prosecutors. “Do you understand?”

Vashawn Delano Basnight, 34, made bail. Then, prosecutors wrote, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed them in charging him, even though they believed he still presented a danger to the community.

On May 28, Basnight was charged in Snohomish County Superior Court with first-degree assault of a child. He is scheduled to be arraigned later this month.

Basnight is accused of abusing an 18-month-old girl to the point that she experienced life-threatening head injuries and a series of seizures, requiring her to be treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital for weeks. Detectives believe he covered up the abuse with the help of his girlfriend. He has a child of his own, about the same age as the toddler girl.

His girlfriend had been babysitting the toddler at a home in south Everett last October, according to charges. The girl had been singing, smiling and climbing on the couch before she was dropped off.

When her mom picked her up, the girl seemed lethargic, charging papers say. Later, the toddler fell forward while she was on a training toilet. She had trouble standing up and was uninterested in eating. Her mother reportedly noticed large bruising on the girl’s left temple and a red line along her neck.

Later at Swedish Mill Creek clinic, a CT scan revealed a subdural hematoma over the girl’s frontal and temporal lobes. The girl was transferred to Harborview Medical Center, then Seattle Children’s, where she remained until Nov. 14.

The babysitter initially reported the girl had fallen off a couch. In a separate interview, Basnight mentioned the babysitter had left to work a cleaning job. He allegedly denied that he watched over the child, aside from a diaper change.

Later, the detective got a judge’s permission to search the babysitter’s phone, and reportedly found evidence that Basnight had been caring for the girl and his son for much of the day.

A doctor specializing in child abuse reviewed the girl’s medical records. She noted the girl had 20 tiny hemorrhages in her eyes that couldn’t have come from falling off a couch, according to charging papers. Rather, they indicated she had been shaken. The doctor believed the bruising came from a blow to her head, or from her head being hit against something. The doctor couldn’t come up with any other reason to explain the burst blood vessels around her neck except for strangulation, according to charging papers.

The doctor reportedly said that the effects of the assault would have been almost immediate, and as subtle as appearing more tired than usual. According to charging papers, doctors believed the girl would sit and walk again in the future, but could suffer cognitive issues. The team of medical experts assigned to the case “stated that (the girl) would not be the same child that she would have been prior to the assault,” prosecutors wrote.

When a detective told the babysitter that doctors believed an assault occurred, the woman “instantly started to cry,” according to charging papers. She reported that she had fallen asleep shortly after the girl was dropped off in the morning, leaving her boyfriend in charge. When the woman woke up in the afternoon, she left to pick up her daughters and go to her cleaning job, which takes about 30 minutes.

The babysitter claimed she didn’t tell the truth at first, because she didn’t want to get in trouble with the girl’s mother for sleeping during the day. The woman reported she and Basnight didn’t talk about what to tell police. Up until Basnight’s arrest, they hadn’t talked much about the incident at all, she reportedly said.

“She stated that when she brought the topic up, Basnight would yell at her and say it was her fault,” prosecutors wrote. “Basnight told her that she should have known not to give her cell phone to police.”

During a recorded phone call made from jail in February, Basnight allegedly demanded the woman deny what was said in the text messages.

“And just so you know, you will be testifying and you will be indicating all the (expletive) that was lies you sent in those (expletive) text messages.”

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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