JPD investigating infant's death as a 'murder'

Posted: Friday, August 20, 2010

The Juneau Police Department is investigating Sunday's death of a 4-month-old Juneau girl as a murder, a sergeant with JPD said.

Rian Orr died at Seattle's Harbor View Medical Center, where she was medevaced to after first being taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital on Aug. 9, according to a press release from JPD.

"We are treating the case as a murder investigation at this time," Juneau Police Department Sergeant Dave Campbell said.

Detectives in JPD's criminal investigations unit are awaiting medical information from Harbor View and Bartlett, JPD Lt. Troy Wilson said.

When Orr arrived at Bartlett, the medical staff alerted the Office of Children's Services, who in turn alerted JPD, the release states.

Orr had both new and old injuries that required medical attention, the release states. JPD investigators Elias Joven and Kim Horn interviewed Rian's 20-year old mother and her mother's 21-year old boyfriend, Campbell said. Rian's mother and her mother's boyfriend are both Juneau residents, the release states. The two officers later flew to Seattle and interviewed them again, Campbell said.

Orr's case, and other cases like hers, will receive special attention from Juneau District Attorney Doug Gardner, he said.

"No case is given a higher standard for professionalism over another," he said. "But, as human beings, we always pay special attention to these types of cases and I think they strike home for a lot of people."

OCS investigated 19,458 cases of suspected child maltreatment from January to July of this year, according to its website. The majority of those reports dealt with neglect, but the office looked into 2,781 cases of suspected mental injury, 2,622 reports of physical abuse and 1,501 allegations of sexual abuse. Of the more than 19,000 investigations, OCS confirmed 1,487 victims of abuse.

"Child abuse and neglect is something the community and something we all are responsible for," OCS southeast region children services manager Ritchie Dorrier said. "We are all responsible, as citizens, for owning it and reporting it and trying to solve it."

Anyone suspecting child abuse should contact either JPD or OCS, Campbell said.

"The JPD deals with issues that are occurring immediately," Campbell said. "If the issues are more long-term abuse or neglect, then it is the OCS. We have a free flow of information between the JPD and OCS where children are concerned."

Additionally, Alaska law requires practitioners of healing arts, school teachers and administrative staff, child care providers, counselors and many other professionals who work with children or parents to report suspected child abuse.

•Contact Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.



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