Whether criminal charges should be filed, and if so against whom, related to last summer’s death of a two-year-old Sierra Vista boy is now in the hands of the Cochise County Attorney’s Office, according to public records released by the Sierra Vista Police Department.
Kenny Gamble II died June 6, 2020 at a Tucson hospital where he had been airlifted a few days earlier after becoming unresponsive while in the care of his mother’s boyfriend, Daniel Foster. An autopsy revealed the toddler’s death was caused by blunt trauma to the head, resulting in a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain.
The autopsy did not resolve the question of whether the injuries were the result of an accident or homicide.
Det. Paul Youman has previously identified Foster as a suspect and the boy’s mother, Alysha Hop, as a person of interest. However, the investigation file remained off-limits until last week when a handful of documents were released to Arizona Daily Independent.
Those documents show Youman interviewed more than one dozen people in connection to the investigation before referring the matter to County Attorney Brian McIntyre’s felony unit for review. Documents from the Arizona Department of Child Safety have been requested in connection to the review but there is no time table for when the review will be completed.
Youman was assigned to the case after Officer Nick Lamay responded to a 911 call from Foster around 11 a.m. on June 3, 2020. The documents released last week reveal Hop told Lamay her son vomited earlier in the day before going to his room. It’s unclear whether Hop witnessed this or simply told police what someone else told her, as she was not home at the time of the 911 call.
Medical intervention at the scene and at Canyon Vista Medical Center eventually restored the boy’s heartbeat, but he required a ventilator to breathe and had brain damage. The family discontinued life support June 6 at Banner UMC in Tucson.
The Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner lists the boy’s official cause of death as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy or HIE. The autopsy report also noted fluid build-up and swelling around the toddler’s brain, as well as retinal and optic hemorrhaging. Despite the injuries, the boy’s skull was not fractured, the report noted.
The forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy also found several contusions across the youngster’s scalp, including one that measured roughly 2.3 inches by 2 inches on the back of the head.