TACOMA, Wash. – Bail was set at $1 million Tuesday for a 25-year-old Washington man accused of putting his 6-week-old daughter in a 10-degree freezer for about an hour to stop her crying.
Doctors believe the baby will survive but it's too soon to know potential complications, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.
The child's core temperature fell to 84 degrees in the freezer, prosecutors said. She also had a broken arm and leg and a head injury, medical staff determined.
Tyler James Deutsch pleaded not guilty to charges of child assault, criminal mistreatment and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence. He was represented by a public defender.
According to court papers, Deutsch gave Pierce County sheriff's officers several accounts but finally said he put the child in the freezer Saturday afternoon "because he was tired and she was crying."
Deutsch said he fell asleep, awoke as the baby's 22-year-old mother returned to their trailer in Roy, Wash., and was removing the baby from the freezer as the mother came in, according to the prosecutor's account.
Deutsch said little at Tuesday's arraignment other than to answer "yes" to Pierce County Court Commissioner Meagan Foley's questions about his address and the spelling of his name, The News Tribune reported.
The baby was clothed when the mother left, charging papers said, but wore only a diaper when she was removed from the freezer.
The man is accused of taking a phone away when the mother tried to call for help. She took the child and got neighbors to call 911, authorities said.
Foley set a tentative trial date of July 15. If the man makes bail, he'll be barred from any contact with the baby or her mother.