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Man charged in death of toddler found in Wyoming dumpster

June 29, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2021, file photo, stuffed animals and notes of condolences are seen attached to a fence around a dumpster at a Cheyenne, Wyo., apartment complex where a 2-year-old boy was found dead. Prosecutors have charged a Cheyenne man in the death of the boy whose body was found in the dumpster. Wyatt Dean Lamb faces one count of first-degree murder and 10 counts of child abuse for the death of Athian Rivera, according to charging documents filed Monday, June 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Mead Gruver,File)
FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2021, file photo, stuffed animals and notes of condolences are seen attached to a fence around a dumpster at a Cheyenne, Wyo., apartment complex where a 2-year-old boy was found dead. Prosecutors have charged a Cheyenne man in the death of the boy whose body was found in the dumpster. Wyatt Dean Lamb faces one count of first-degree murder and 10 counts of child abuse for the death of Athian Rivera, according to charging documents filed Monday, June 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Mead Gruver,File)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a man in the death of a 2-year-old boy whose body was found in an apartment complex dumpster in Cheyenne.

Wyatt Dean Lamb, who was the boyfriend of the boy’s mother, faces one count of first-degree murder and 10 counts of child abuse in the death of Athian Rivera, according to charging documents filed Monday.

If convicted, Lamb could face the death penalty. District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove didn’t immediately return a message Tuesday asking if she planned to seek capital punishment.

The boy’s disappearance on Feb. 19 prompted police and others to search the apartment complex and nearby areas before an officer found Athian wrapped in a sheet, blanket and five trash bags in the dumpster a couple hours later.

His body was still warm. A coroner determined the boy had died two to four hours earlier of blunt force trauma, lack of oxygen to the brain, or both, according to the affidavit filed in the case.

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The boy had burns on his inner thighs and numerous abrasions and bruises on his head, back, chest, belly and arms, the coroner noted.

Lamb had been living with the boy’s mother, Kassandra Orona, and and her three children in the apartment, Orona told investigators.

She told police that Lamb had watched the children the night before while Orona worked a shift a sandwich shop. She also told police she got home around 3:30 a.m. and was awakened by Lamb, who wanted her to drive her daughter to school a few minutes away because the girl was running late, according to court documents.

After Orona and Lamb got back, Orona went back to bed. Lamb awakened her just after noon, saying Athian was missing, according to her account provided to investigators.

Lamb told police he returned to his apartment after Orona got home from work but returned by taxi later that morning when Orona called and said Athian was missing.

But police said in court documents that Lamb and several taxi companies contacted by investigators said they had no record of a trip that day to Orona’s apartment, police allege in court documents.

Lamb has been jailed since police arrested him on unrelated charges on the evening of the boy’s disappearance, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported.

He was charged in 2020 with felony strangulation of Orona and with misdemeanor property destruction and interfering with a peace officer. He faced bond revocation for allegedly missing a hearing in that case last summer and for living with Orona.

Lamb’s attorney didn’t immediately return a message Tuesday seeking comment on the charges lodged in the boy’s death.