Spokane's medical examiner has announced the death of a 2-year-old girl on Spokane's South Hill was a homicide.
The announcement came Wednesday evening, hours after the Spokane County Sheriff's Office announced it had opened a homicide investigation into the girl's death. The young girl was identified as Adalynn Hoyt. The medical examiner says she died of blunt abdominal trauma.
According to court documents, the girl's mother left Sunday night around 11 p.m. to drink at the house of someone she knew as "Stranger." She returned in the middle of the night, but did not check on any of the children.
A man that used to be in a dating relationship with the mother was supposed to be watching the children. When the mother woke up the next morning, he was gone.
Later that morning, the mother says she checked on Adalynn, but the girl appeared to be sleeping. It wasn't until a 4-year-old sibling was asked to check on the girl that they realized she wasn't breathing and someone called 911.
The man who was watching the children still hasn't been found by police. He's wanted on an outstanding U.S. Marshal's warrant not related to the case. Detectives say it was reckless for the mother to leave the children in his care because of his lengthy criminal history and known drug use.
Detectives say at the home they found a number of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Records and cell phones inside the home showed a history of drug sales and distribution. Drugs like methamphetamine and heroin were found, as well as baggies, syringes and scales.
Three people are now being investigated in connection with the drugs found in the home. No arrests have been made yet.
Adalynn had three siblings who are now in the care of Child Protective Services.
This is now the third child death in Spokane and Kootenai counties in the last several weeks. And the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery wants to remind parents there are options when you feel your child or another child is in an unsafe situation.
"We just really want parents to know whenever they're overwhelmed, or maybe that the care of their children is going to be secondary, that we want to be that resource for them," said Amy Vega, executive director of the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery.
She adds that the help is available no matter your situation.
"The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery is all about keeping kids safe, and we don;t want to put any kind of criteria around there," Vega said.
Vega adds that when we see a parent who is struggling to take care of their children, it's up to the community to step in and say something.
"We all have to stand up and say something when we see a parent who is struggling, when we see a parent who is overwhelmed. We have to, in a non-judgmental way, encourage them through that moment," she said.
If you need to contact the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, you can call them at (509) 535-3155. A call can be made at any time to speak with a family support specialist.