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Gresham babys death leads to murder charges for mothers boyfriend

Jeffrey E. Locker in jail after Brooklyn Saechao, 1, dies of a head injury
by: Contributed photo Jeffrey E. Locker

A man who said his live-in girlfriend's baby hurt her head in the bathtub has pleaded not guilty to charges that he killed the child.

Jeffrey Edward Locker, 22, the live-in boyfriend of the baby's mother, pleaded not guilty to allegations of murder and first-degree manslaughter during his arraignment Monday, Aug. 8. A grand jury is scheduled to hear the case Tuesday, Aug. 16. Until then, Locker is being held without bail at the Multnomah County Detention Center.

Locker reportedly called 9-1-1 at 2:02 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, and said the baby was unconscious after she hit her head on the bathtub inside their Gresham apartment in the 16400 block of Northeast Russell Street, said Sgt. Wally Coon, Gresham police spokesman.

The baby's 25-year-old mother, Jamie Saechao, was at work, said Officer John Rasmussen, a Gresham police spokesman.

Paramedics arrived and requested police also respond to the scene. As officers arrived, paramedics rushed the girl to Legacy Emanuel Hospital and Health Center.

Doctors diagnosed the girl with a severe head injury that left her in critical condition.

Due to the suspicious nature of the injury, Child Abuse Team detectives and Gresham police's Major Crime Team helped with the investigation.

Two days later, on Thursday, Aug. 4, the girl died of her injuries. The next day, police found Locker driving north of Milton-Freewater in eastern Oregon, reportedly heading toward the Washington border.

Police arrested him without incident and returned him to Gresham for questioning.

He was booked into the Multnomah County Jail at about 10:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5.

Court records indicate that Locker told police detectives the baby fell in the bathtub and that he was the only one there when she began to appear hurt.

The state medical examiner and another doctor also indicated that Locker's description of how the baby was injured was 'inconsistent with the physical findings' and the child would have 'been immediately symptomatic.'

State Medical Examiner Karen Gunson ruled the death a homicide caused by severe blunt force head trauma resulting in subdural bi-lateral hematomas, bilateral retinal and optic nerve hemorrhages and diffused brain swelling.

The baby's family, meanwhile, is mired in grieving - a complete turnaround from the celebration of Brooklyn's first birthday the week before her death.

'Brooklyn knows how to steal hearts and keep her grandparents in Estacada busy!' read a happy birthday announcement on KGW.com posted July 26.

'The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers,' reads a statement from the Saechao family, which Estacada Fire Chief Alan Hull released. 'Please give our family and friends time to grieve privately during this difficult time.'

In lieu of flowers, the family also requested donations be made to the Raphael House, a domestic violence agency.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Gresham police tip line at 503-618-2719.