Parents charged with murder in death of infant daughter
The parents of a 7-month-old baby girl who was found unresponsive in a Warwick home were charged with one count each of second-degree murder in a secret indictment unsealed Thursday.
Ryan Beeley and Mariah Ramos, who initially faced neglect charges, were arraigned in Kent County Superior Court. They pleaded not guilty and ordered held without bail.
Officials said 7-month-old Willow Beeley was found unresponsive Feb. 21 in Beeley's home on Airway Road. Officials said she died from "asphyxia due to overlay."
NBC 10 legal analyst Mark Dana said neglect charges rarely change to murder charges after a hearing in front of a grand jury.
“That is very unusual,” Dana said. “The only reason you would do that is if the autopsy comes back to show some type of malice.”
Prior injuries, like broken bones, would be a cause for the decision. Toxicity reports from Beeley, who was the only one home with Willow that night, could also play into it.
"It's entirely possible that the jury, when the case was heard, can say, 'No, this is a manslaughter case all day long,’” Dana said.
Ramos, who was the child's mother, was also charged with second-degree murder. However, she was not with Willow at the time of the incident and came home to find her daughter unresponsive.
"What would be sustainable for manslaughter or second-degree murder is she has knowledge of severe injury and doesn't do anything about it,” Dana said. “There's definitely more evidence in this case that was originally charged."
Beeley, 38, of Warwick, and Ramos, 34, of Bristol, are scheduled to have a bail hearing on June 15.