Man accused of beating girlfriend’s son appears in court

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on April 15, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 15 at 7:01 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.-- The man accused of beating his girlfriend's son to death appeared in court Monday. 

Josh Burnett, 23, is facing 2nd degree murder charges in the death of Rylee Castner, 18 months.

Detectives believe Burnett lied to them about what happend the morning Castner was abused.

Court documents say Burnett originally said Castner fell asleep while playing and a fall at McDonald's was also brought up as a possible reason for the child's death.

An autopsy revealed that the toddler died from a subdural hemorrhage and right parietal skull fracture. The Medical Examiner confirmed that the injuries happened due to blunt impact to head.

Court documents also show Rylee's mom Cassandra,  was upstairs for 20 minutes cooking breakfast and when she came back down Rylees'd clothes had been changed and he was in his crib.

Cassandra told detectives the couple and her two sons were getting ready to go to a family barbeque. When she was loading rylee into the car he was unresponsive. When they arrived at the barbeque, Rylee's grandma saw blood coming from his mouth and called 911. 


Police searched a house along the 2100 block of West Mansfield Court during their investigation. A search warrant revealed that medics arrived at the house to find Castner bleeding from the mouth and bruised under both cheeks. An officer at the scene said that the bruising appeared to be finger marks. The same officer also observed a large indentation on the left side of the toddler’s head according to the search warrant.

Burnett does not have any other felonies but does have a domestic complaint in March 2012. Court documents show he has a biological child with another woman who filed the domestic complaint.

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