IMAGE: Damian Garrett

An affidavit submitted by a court officer revealed horrific details of Skylar Papple’s death.

Damian Garrett, 23, has been arrested for his involvement in her death.

The Augusta man was arraigned on Sept. 20 for felony murder and first-degree child abuse. He pleaded not guilty.

The toddler was pronounced dead on Sept. 17 after she was found not breathing.

"Homicide cases are the worst ones that we have to deal with,” said Midland County Prosecutor J. Dee Brooks. “And when it involves a child that makes it the worst of the worst."

Midland Police responded to the 5200 block of Hedgewood Drive about 3:05 p.m. that day to investigate a child not breathing.

Upon arrival, police found the toddler receiving CPR from emergency medical responders, police said.

The apartment's maintenance manager was helping to perform CPR on Skylar, the affidavit said.

Garrett told the maintenance manager he left Skylar alone in the bathroom for about 10 minutes, when he heard a thud coming from the bathroom he went back in and found Skylar underwater, the affidavit states, adding Garrett told responding officers the same thing.

The maintenance manager also saw what appeared to be a fresh injury to the side of Skylar’s face, the affidavit said.

Garrett told officers he attempted to revive her after removing her from the tub, the affidavit states, adding Garrett went outside and asked a UPS driver to call 911 for assistance.

Garrett said he then went back inside the apartment, picked Skylar up and took her outside where he performed CPR until the responding emergency vehicles arrived, the affidavit said.

Skylar was then transported to the Mid-Michigan Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

Emergency Room personnel told police Skylar had some fresh appearing bruising on her face and head that appeared to be concerning, the affidavit said.

An autopsy was performed and the preliminary results determined Skylar’s cause of death was drowning with multiple head injuries as possible contributory factors.

The autopsy doctor determined Skylar’s death a homicide.

"There's a long way to go and the case is still very much under active investigation,” Brooks said. “I can tell you there's already a lot more information that we have than what's contained in that affidavit. So, they'll be a lot more to it, but obviously we felt that there was more than sufficient proof to file the charges."

Garrett was in a dating relationship with Skylar’s mother at the time of the incident, police said.

During the investigation, a detective interviewed a friend who lived with Garrett and Skylar’s mom prior to Skylar’s death.

The woman told the detective she kicked the couple out of her apartment on Sept. 13 because of the way Skylar was being treated and punished while they stayed with her, the affidavit states.

Upon subsequent police interviews with Garrett, Garrett admitted to hitting Skylar while she was in the bathtub on Sept. 17, the affidavit said.

“Garrett admitted that while he was bathing Skylar, she got upset about her hair getting wet and began to scream. Garrett said that he then became frustrated and hit or pushed Skylar in the back, harder than he ever had before, causing her to fall forward and hit her head on the bath faucet,” the affidavit said.

Garrett told police Skylar fell face down into the water and was not moving, which caused him to “freak out,” the affidavit said.

“So he left Skylar face down in the water and went out to the living room where he was punching the floor,” the affidavit said.

After about five to six minutes, Garrett claims he went back into the bathroom where Skylar was still lying face down in six to eight inches of water and that’s when he removed her from the bathtub, the affidavit said.

Garrett also allegedly admitted to hitting Skylar on her head when she resisted while he was trying to wash her hair, the affidavit said.

“He stated that he knocked her down approximately four times and she struck her head on the bathtub when he did this,” the affidavit states.

If convicted, Garrett could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

It’s unclear if anyone else will face any criminal charges.

"That's not something I can comment on at this time,” Brooks said. “Like I said the investigation is still very much ongoing."

One thing that is clear is that brooks is focused on getting justice for this little girl.

"We will certainly use our very best efforts to try to obtain justice," Brooks said.

If you have any information call Midland Police at 989-839-4713.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(1) comment

aMaized2no

It’s really SAD that anybody could do this to a child! Mothers quit bringing these men around your children, YOU don’t know them enough to even leave them with your new boyfriend. if you the parent want to deal with them, then go ahead. I hope he gets the maximum penalty allowed. R.I.P. Baby Girl!

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