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Family acquaintance petitioned for custody of baby prior to baby's alleged murder by mother

SPOKANE, Wash. - Skye Metcalf, 27, faced a judge and second-degree murder charges in Spokane County Superior Court Wednesday after she was arrested for the murder of her 6-month-old daughter -- and court documents show another judge had already been warned about the danger Metcalf posed to her baby Skarlette.

Court documents show Metcalf brought Skarlette, who was unconscious, to Valley MultiCare Hospital Monday, where she died just minutes later. Metcalf originally told the Spokane County Sheriff's Office she accidentally tripped and fell while holding Skarlette. An autopsy later showed the baby's injuries were not caused by an accident and her death was ruled a homicide.

Metcalf then admitted to authorities she forced Skarlette into her bassinet face-first and punched her in the head twice after an argument with the baby's father, Anthony Stedeford. Stedeford told deputies he did not witness the assault.

A letter filed to the court on April 23 from a woman named Krista Baker said she lived with the family and was concerned for Skarlette's safety. In the letter, Baker said she "took [Skarlette] 24/7, so she was properly taken care of." Baker also said Metcalf is bipolar and had postpartum depression. Baker claimed Metcalf said she "never wanted to be a mother."

Baker's letter states Child Protective Services took Skarlette from the family for five days in March once Metcalf signed a voluntary placement agreement. Baker concludes the letter by saying "I fear there will be neglect and emotional and mental abuse by both Anthony and Skye towards Skarlette." Baker pleaded for temporary custody "so that Skarlette will have a chance at a healthy and happy life. One with routine and stability."

In a declaration filed with the court on April 24, Metcalf responded to the petition by stating she was no longer struggling with post-partum depression and that "there's no need to separate a child from her family unless there is an emergency or threat and there is not."

The petition for custody was dismissed by the court in May. The court stated there was no adequate cause for a custody hearing.

Metcalf faces second-degree murder charges. Her bond is set at $1 million.


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