A 32-year-old Lacey man accused of killing a toddler is being held in Thurston County jail without bail.
Eric Richard Boudreau attended his preliminary hearing in Thurston County Superior Court from jail on Friday.
Lacey police arrested him on Wednesday on suspicion of second-degree murder in the death of a 13-month-old boy. The toddler died from blunt force injuries to the head that he sustained at a Lacey residence on Nov. 11, 2022, more than four months before Boudreau’s arrest.
Judge Sharonda Amamilo found probable cause for the alleged crime on Thursday, but the hearing was continued to Friday to allow Boudreau’s attorney to appear.
The Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Boudreau with the alleged crime that same day. However, they added several aggravating circumstance allegations because of the child’s vulnerability and excessive injuries as well as Boudreau’s position of trust and his alleged cruelty.
On Friday, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Cailen Cecil asked Judge John Skinder to set no bail given the severity of the crime.
“There is no doubt in anyone’s mind involved in the investigation of this case that (the boy) suffered child abuse,” Cecil said. “His death was not the result of accidental trauma.”
Cecil listed the child’s injuries in graphic detail which she called “extreme and numerous.” They included skull fractures, hemorrhages, bruises, lacerations and more.
“These are not injuries that could have been sustained by falling down carpeted stairs,” Cecil said.
Christopher Taylor, Boudreau’s attorney, acknowledged the “horrific” nature of the alleged crime but argued against holding his client without bail.
Court records indicate Boudreau has no known criminal history. In light of this, Taylor said it would not make sense to find his client posed a risk to the community. Instead, he asked Skinder to set bail at $50,000.
In siding with Cecil, Skinder reasoned Boudreau may commit a violent offense if released.
“The amount and level of force that would have been necessary, based upon the allegations, against a small child are such that I do have (a concern of) a substantial risk for the community,” Skinder said.
Members of the child’s family attended the hearing but did not to address the court.
A probable cause statement describes the investigation into the child’s death from the perspective of law enforcement.
The incident occurred in the afternoon on Nov. 11, 2022, at a residence on the 9000 block of Campus Glen Drive Northeast.
Lacey police and firefighters responded to a 1:44 p.m. 911 call about a 13-month-old child who allegedly fell down the stairs while his babysitter, Boudreau, slept.
Medics transported the child to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia at about 2:19 p.m. after 16 rounds of CPR and medication yielded a heartbeat. The child was later airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he died.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Nov. 15. A death certificate was issued in late February. It states the child died due to blunt force injuries of the head and the manner of death is homicide.
On Friday, Cecil explained to the court why it took so long after the incident for law enforcement to arrest Boudreau.
“The prosecutor assigned to the case then and the detective believed it would be appropriate to wait until the medical examiner completed the autopsy, until the forensic testing had been done on (the child’s) body and the medical examiner had issued the death certificate,” Cecil said.
A Lacey detective received the certificate in late February, Cecil said. From there, the detective and Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office scheduled interviews with staff at the medical examiner’s office.
“Once those interviews had been completed, Lacey Police Department acted quickly and took Mr. Boudreau into custody,” Cecil said.
The detective interviewed first responders who treated the child at the residence on Nov. 11. They said the child’s injuries were not consistent with falling down the stairs, according to the statement.
One paramedic reportedly said there “wasn’t a square inch” of the child’s body that wasn’t covered with a bruise.
Another paramedic with 17 years’ experience described the injuries as the worst they had ever seen on a child, not including a car accident, according to court records.
Medical professionals that treated the child at both hospitals reportedly said the extensive nature of his injuries were consistent with child abuse, not accidental trauma.
The child’s mother told a detective she lived in the residence with Boudreau and another woman who had two children of her own. They lived on the second floor while the child’s father lived on the first floor, according to the statement.
She reportedly said she left the child with Boudreau because his daycare was closed on Veterans Day and all the other adults had to work.
The night before, Boudreau played a show with his band and returned home with a friend. The statement says Boudreau stayed up all night.
In a later interview, Boudreau allegedly told the detective he had drunk about five beers the night before and smoked marijuana, but he believed he was fine to watch the child.
In his account, Boudreau said he fell asleep with the child. When he woke up, the child was gone. He then found the child injured at the bottom of the stairs.
Boudreau called the child’s mother to tell her about the fall and she called 911. When asked why he didn’t call 911 himself, he allegedly said it wasn’t his child and he had never had a child before.
The child’s mother and the woman she lived with told detectives they trusted Boudreau and didn’t believe he would harm the child, according to the statement.
Detectives also interviewed the child’s father. He said he observed Boudreau attending to the crying child in the morning and helped prepare him a bottle.
As the father got ready for work, he allegedly heard Boudreau go upstairs with the crying child and say “shut up” in a frustrated voice. The statement indicates the father felt uneasy but still left for work because he feared he would be fired.
The father was later fired when he left work to go the hospital, according to the statement.
He reportedly told the detective he did not believe Boudreau would intentionally hurt the child.