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Friday, Jan 25 2013 12:10 PM

Reports: Murder defendant told deputies he threw, injured Lake Isabella toddler

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

A defendant charged with murder in the death of a Lake Isabella toddler told deputies he threw the child at a foldout couch and she struck her head on its metal frame a few hours before her death, according to reports filed in Kern County Superior Court.

Jared Ramirez described to deputies a series of incidents in which he physically and mentally abused 1-year-old Sophialynn Marie Taylor, although he said repeatedly he didn't think he did anything wrong and he just doesn't know how to discipline kids, redacted Kern County Sheriff's Department reports said. Sophialynn died Jan. 12 and a pathologist said she suffered multiple blunt force trauma and an array of injuries, some of which were not recent.

Ramirez has pleaded not guilty to murder, willful cruelty to a child and assault on a child resulting in death or great bodily harm. A pre-preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 13.

The reports, which first became available Friday, said the 24-year-old Ramirez repeatedly changed his story while under questioning. He said he has trouble keeping track of time because he smokes marijuana, and he said he used methamphetamine up until Oct. 12.

Deputies asked Ramirez how Sophialynn -- the daughter of Ramirez's girlfriend -- suffered her injuries and he said he believed she got them from sleeping with her sippy cup, according to the reports. The detectives said they didn't believe that and they continued pressing Ramirez for more information.

Ramirez eventually told them he roughhoused with Sophialynn, throwing her at times and holding her down on his lap to make her stop crying, the reports said. He told detectives he didn't mean to hurt her, but she would frustrate him at times with her crying.

The reports said Ramirez told deputies about two past incidents where Sophialynn was hurt while with him.

In one, Ramirez said his dog bumped into him while he was holding the child and she hit her head on a brick fireplace, the reports said. Also, he told deputies the toddler once fell asleep while standing and fell and hit her head.

The child's mother, Amanda Reese, told deputies following Sophialynn's death that she'd been dating Ramirez for 2 1/2 months and she suspected he'd been hurting Sophialynn, the reports said. She said she saw Ramirez hold Sophialynn down for minutes at a time and tell her to stop crying, and she had seen unexplained bruises on her daughter.

"I should have left a long time ago and (Sophialynn) would still be here," Reese told deputies, the reports say.

The reports said Reese told deputies Sophialynn would start screaming just at the sight of Ramirez or the sound of his voice.

After interviewing Reese and Ramirez separately, deputies left them alone together in the interview room and recorded their conversation.

Part of the conversation went as follows:

Ramirez: "It was an accident. I loved Sophia."

Reese: "I did too."

Ramirez: "I still do. I wanted the papers for her. I didn't mean to bump her head. I meant to throw her on the bed. I missed the pillow and she hit the bed."

Reese: "Why didn't you tell me?"

Ramirez: "Because you were already going to break up with me. I told you the first time I bumped her head and I was so scared. I didn't think you could do that again. She was walking around, on her horse. I felt her head. She was OK. I didn't do it. It was an accident."

The reports said Ramirez told Reese he'll kill himself if he's released from custody. He asked Reese how he's supposed to go on living knowing he killed her daughter.

At one point Ramirez stood up and opened the door to the room, according to the reports. He told a deputy outside that he was feeling claustrophobic and the colors on the walls were changing.

Later, Ramirez told Reese that he's "going down for life" and asked if Reese will visit him in prison, the reports said. She said she will visit him if Ramirez wants her to.

Deputies were called to Reese's and Ramirez's apartment in the 2500 block of Erskine Creek Road early Jan. 12 for a report of a baby not breathing. Sophialynn was pronounced dead a short time later at Kern Valley Hospital and both Reese and Ramirez were arrested, although Reese was released and has not been charged.

The reports said Reese told deputies she was out partying into the early morning and it was shortly after she came home that the child went into distress.

The child's injuries included a large bruise on the back of her head, a thumb-size bruise underneath her jaw on both sides of her throat, and scratches on her forearm, chin and the back of her skull, the reports said.

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