Pierce County prosecutors contend a 20-year-old Tacoma woman punched, squeezed and shook her 9-month-old son so violently over a three-week period last month that the boy wound up in a local hospital with critical injuries.
Elida Rose Reeves was charged this week with first-degree child assault. A not guilty plea was entered on her behalf Thursday in Pierce County Superior Court.
Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Reeves jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Tacoma police detectives began investigating Reeves on Tuesday when she brought her son to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. She told hospital staff the boy was having seizures, court records show.
Doctors and nurses examined the boy and found he was suffering from cerebral hemorrhaging as well as injuries to his torso and other parts of his body, the records show.
Police were called, and detectives interviewed Reeves at the hospital.
She allegedly told them she was a heroin and methamphetamine addict who used drugs while pregnant with her son.
The state took custody of the boy shortly after he was born, Reeves allegedly told detectives, but she regained custody in July after enrolling in a drug-treatment program. The two lived together at the treatment center while she got clean, the records state.
Reeves said she graduated from treatment on Dec. 11, and she and the boy moved to a “clean and sober” apartment building in Tacoma the next day, records show.
“The defendant explained the new living environment was very different as she no longer had other people to entertain (her son),” deputy prosecutor Heather DeMaine wrote in charging documents. “The defendant became frustrated, angry and glum and being sober added to her frustration.”
Reeves said she began abusing the boy shortly thereafter, slapping him, punching him and violently shaking and squeezing him, the records show.
The abuse escalated toward the end of the month, she allegedly told detectives, until she hurt him so badly on Dec. 28 that his eyes “glazed over” and he quit crying, instead uttering grunts.
Reeves took him to the hospital three days later. She said she delayed seeking medical care for the boy because she was afraid she’d once again lose custody of him, court records show.
Detectives searched her apartment and found numerous articles of baby clothes stained with what appeared to be blood, the records state.
The boy was “minimally responsive” and in critical condition Thursday, DeMaine wrote in court documents.