MAN FACES CHARGES IN BABY'S DEATH

September 18, 2002 11:00 pm

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

"This is just traumatic to us," a mother of two children living at the Cimarron Apartments reported to The Observer Wednesday afternoon.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, had learned that morning that a 3-month-old neighbor girl, Miranda Evans, had died at Doernbecher Children's Hospital after receiving a serious head injury the day before.

By late Wednesday afternoon word came that La Grande police had arrested Jeremy Glen Wilson, 30, and charged him with third-degree assault related to the death of Miranda. A Union County grand jury later indicted him on both second- and third-degree assault.

The neighbor woman told The Observer that she and other residents had seen police and the ambulance leaving the apartment complex between 7:15 and 7:20 a.m. Tuesday.

According to Union County District Attorney Russ West, the ambulance had been called to 1904 H Avenue, Apt. I-2, at 6:50 a.m.

The Evans baby was found unconscious.

Wilson, 30, who lived with the infant's mother, Janice Evans, was at the complex when the ambulance arrived. Janice Evans was not there, although she later went to Portland with her daughter.

Miranda Evans was taken to Grande Ronde Hospital, West said, where she was intubated and a CT scan was performed under the supervision of Drs. Lewis Baynes and Kevin Grayson.

The scan determined that the child had suffered a serious head injury, West said.

Wednesday, neighbors at the apartments had heard various unconfirmed stories of what had happened to the baby.

According to the neighbor woman, Wilson had taken the baby and a telephone to an older woman's apartment, handed her the baby and the phone, and told her to call 9-1-1.

Having the injured baby in her apartment had upset the older woman to the point, the neighbor said, that the woman couldn't stand the sight of the coffee table where the baby had been placed.

By midday Wednesday, neighbors had arranged for the donation of a new coffee table for her and covered it with flowers.

West reported that after the scans at Grande Ronde Hospital, Miranda was flown to Doernbecher for further care.

"Although the child survived the flight, the child died last night," West said in a press release Wednesday afternoon.

"The cause and manner of death are being investigated by the medical examiner division of the Oregon State Police. Dr. Clifford Nelson, a board-certified forensic pathologist, employed by the division, performed an autopsy at the division's headquarters in Portland during the afternoon of Sept. 18," West continued.

Janice Evans lived in the apartment complex with Miranda and three other children. Her two oldest children, a 10-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl, were staying with Evans' relatives Wednesday. A state Services to Children and Families hearing regarding a third young son, was scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon, according to a relative of the two older children.

By Wednesday afternoon the grand jury had indicted Wilson

on charges of second- and third-degree assault, West said. He

was arraigned on the charges Wednesday.

Second-degree assault is a Measure 11 crime that, upon conviction, carries a 70-month minimum prison sentence. Oregon law requires that the court set bail at a minimum of $50,000.

West said the investigation of Miranda's death is continuing. Details will be released as they become available.

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