Boy's injuries are inconsistent with accidental suffocation

An autopsy report on a 7-week-old whose family removed him from life support last week indicates the infant died from asphyxia from smothering and compression, according to the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office.

The manner of death for Aden Ross Myers was homicide, said Dr. Christopher Young, a forensic pathologist and deputy medical examiner, who performed the infant’s autopsy on Saturday.

Myers’ father, Robert Russ Myers, was arraigned Friday on one count of murder related to his son’s death.Robert Myers faces one count of murder for allegedly killing his 7-week-old son.

Injuries doctors discovered while trying to save the Beaverton infant’s life led investigators to further question Robert, who told police Aden was accidentally suffocated the night of Jan. 2.

During a news conference at City Hall on Friday afternoon, Beaverton Police Chief Geoff Spalding explained how investigators came to question Myers’ initial explanation: that his infant son was suffocated when the father accidentally rolled on top of the baby after he fell asleep on the sofa.

“Detectives determined the injuries the child sustained earlier (on Jan. 2) were not consistent with the story we were told,” Spalding said.

Beaverton police arrested Myers, 26, a resident of the King’s Court Apartments in the 1600 block of Southwest Estuary Drive, on Thursday, Jan. 3, around 10:30 p.m. He was arraigned on a first-degree murder charge on Friday at the Washington County Circuit Court in Hillsboro.

The child’s mother, Stephanie Baker, 27, who lives with Myers in the apartment, was in another room when the infant stopped breathing. She has cooperated with investigators and is not facing criminal charges, Spalding said.

“We have no reason to believe the mom was involved in any way,” he said, offering condolences to the infant’s family.

Robert Ross Myers initially told police he had fallen asleep on the sofa next to his son on Wednesday night. When he awoke just before midnight, he found the baby unresponsive and called 911. Paramedics arrived to find Aden Myers unable to breathe on his own. The baby was taken to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center before being transferred to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at Oregon Health and Science University in Southwest Portland.

Family members chose to take the baby off life support the next day, said Officer Mike Rowe, Beaverton police spokesman.

“Later on, we received a call from Doernbecher, in which we learned the injuries were not consistent with the story we were told,” Spalding said at the news TIMES PHOTO/JONATHAN HOUSE  - Beaverton Police Chief Geoff Spalding briefs members of the news media at City Hall on Friday, Jan. 4, after Robert Myers, 26, was arrested and charged in the murder of his 7-week-old infant son, Aden Ross Myers.

Doctors found one broken bone in the infant’s chest that was in the process of healing. They determined it could not have been injured as recently as Wednesday night. Along with the absence of bruises, the discovery ruled out the possibility the injury resulted from a CPR attempt to revive the child.

Officers spoke with Myers again, when he reportedly made statements that led detectives to arrest him for the alleged murder of his child.

“The most important fact was a bone that was in a stage of healing, and not just something that recently happened,” Spalding said. “There was enough concern for us to go out for a second interview. From all indications, (Myers’) initial account does not hold water anymore. The initial version appeared to be somewhat plausible.”

Taking questions from the news media, Spalding said Myers and Baker both work at the Fred Meyer store at Southwest Walker Road and 158th Avenue, and neither have a known criminal history.

Myers was lodged in the Washington County Jail without bail. He was arraigned on Friday afternoon before Washington County Circuit Judge Janelle Wipper. Appearing behind a glass window in a green jail jumpsuit, Myers was charged with one count of murder. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 4 p.m.

Daniel Myers, Robert Myers’ father, spoke briefly to members of the news media gathered in the courthouse lobby. He said no one was sure what exactly took place that night, other than his son was trying to help his fiancé and that both of them were “just stressed.”

“He was just trying to give her some rest,” Daniel Myers said of Baker, while fighting back tears. “We’re not really sure what happened. None of us would’ve guessed this would happen.

“We’re just in shock.”

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