Homicide investigation: friend reveals concerns about toddler's safety

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 10 at 7:22 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- It's been more than one week since 18-month-old Rylee Castner died. His death was ruled a homicide on Monday. Court documents say the toddler was beaten and some of his wounds appeared to have finger marks.
 
Court records also say Rylee's paternal father was not in his life, but his mother had a boyfriend who was often around. KREM 2 talked with the family of that boyfriend Wednesday. They told us they were with the toddler days before he died. The uncle of Rylee's mother's boyfriend said he had a sick feeling in his stomach about the way the little man was being treated.
 
"I couldn't get him out of my mind," the uncle, who asked to remain unidentified said. "I felt so sorry for the little guy."
 
The man we talked to said Rylee was at his house a few days before he died on Easter Sunday.
 
"I saw a bruise on his forehead and a split lip," the man said. "I turned my head and I said are you abusing this child. No one said nothing."
 
The man claims at a recent family get together, the baby clung on to him. He also claimed Rylee was terrified of his mom and her boyfriend.
 
"I'm holding this child and he didn't want to go to the mother or the boyfriend. He held on to perfect strangers with fear."
 
The man said he's barely slept since baby Rylee died. He said he's having a hard time forgiving himself for not reporting the abuse to authorities. Now, he just wants to do the right thing, even if that means telling the disturbing truth about his own family.
 
"I believe everyone involved should be locked up. This is a child that's involved," he said.
 
The man has been questioned by Major Crimes detectives. His nephew used to live with him, but he doesn't know where he is now.

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