Boyfriend admits to abuse of baby that died

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A 16-year-old charged with killing his girlfriend's baby will be tried as an adult, Ketchikan Police said.

Josh Rowden has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Adrian Cole Fackrell, who was six weeks old when he died Saturday.

The baby was taken to a Ketchikan doctor on April 16. Within hours he was sent by medical plane to Seattle Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center.

Seattle doctors determined that the baby had bacterial meningitis, and they found multiple broken bones. On April 18, the Alaska Division of Family and Youth Services was alerted of suspected abuse. The agency contacted Ketchikan police the next day.

In an interview Friday with Ketchikan police in Seattle, Rowden described repeated violence against the child, according to a charging document.

Rowden told police he shook Adrian twice, according to the document filed Saturday in Ketchikan. Police say Rowden told them that the baby once stopped breathing after he shook and squeezed him and he had to initiate CPR.

Another time, when Rowden was changing Adrian's diaper, he jerked the baby's legs upward, making a popping sound and causing the baby to scream, the document said. Rowden also said when Adrian was in his car seat, he twisted the baby's legs hard outward from under him and again heard the popping sound, the document said.

Both lower legs were broken and the baby's right femur suffered a spiral fracture, the charging document said.

Another incident occurred when Rowden jumped five or six feet into the air. Adrian was on a bed, and Rowden landed on the baby's leg and head with his knees, the document said.

Adrian's mother, Leah Fackrell, 18, and Rowden met in a Job Corps program in Oregon, where she got her high school equivalency diploma and training in culinary arts.

Rowden had been in trouble with the law. They came to Alaska in December after Rowden faced new problems for leaving Job Corps without permission, said Michael Weins, Fackrell's stepfather.

The baby's father, Matt Barton, also was in the Job Corps program.

Leah Fackrell may also face charges, said Ketchikan Police Chief Grant Sirevog.

Police are wrecked emotionally by what happened to Adrian.

''It is so sad, and it is so sickening,'' Sirevog said.

Other people in the Southeast logging and fishing town also are shaken up.

''He was a beautiful baby. It was a short little life to have gone through so much,'' said Gigi Pilcher, executive director of the Ketchikan women's shelter.



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