Seven weeks ago, Tyler James Deutsch held his newborn daughter in his arms and smiled for the camera.
He posted the photo on his Facebook page. Social media thumbs went up; 19 people liked the picture. A relative, possibly an uncle, posted a warm comment.
“Your life will change forever I can already tell just in your smile,” it said.
The relative was right. Deutsch’s life has changed. He was arrested Saturday. Pierce County prosecutors say he placed his infant daughter in a freezer for an hour or more to stop her from crying.
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Tuesday, he walked into a Pierce County courtroom wearing a green suicide smock and shackles. Deutsch, 25, faces charges of first-degree child assault, first-degree criminal mistreatment and interfering with the reporting of a domestic violence incident. Those are preliminary charges; prosecutors could file more.
If convicted, Deutsch could spend the rest of his life in prison.
He pleaded not guilty. County Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set bail at $1 million.
The child is alive, but her long-term prospects for recovery are unclear. According to charging papers, her body temperature was between 84 and 86 degrees when she was rescued. She also had a broken arm, a broken leg, a head injury and blisters on her leg and foot.
The child’s mother, 22, didn’t come to court.
Charging papers say she didn’t trust Deustch to be alone with the child, and Deutsch knew it. Saturday was the first time; the mother left the couple’s house in Roy for 90 minutes.
At Tuesday’s arraignment, a quick affair, Deutsch said little, apart from answering “yes” to questions about his address and the spelling of his name.
Foley set a tentative trial date of July 15. If Deutsch makes bail, he’s prohibited from the Roy address and any contact with the baby or her mother.
Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486