Spokane toddler fighting for life while babysitter’s husband faces first-degree assault charge
Doctors have been fighting for nine days to save the life of an 18-month-old Spokane boy who suffered a lacerated liver so severe that a physician told the mother it was on the scale of injury suffered from a fall from a two-story building or a serious vehicle collision.
The boy’s mother, Erin Duda, said doctors have kept her son, Kamari Duda-Thomas, sedated and, until recently, on paralytics, which prevent the boy from moving as they monitor his serious internal injuries in the pediatric intensive care unit at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.
On Tuesday, the toddler had improved just enough to allow his mother to hold him for the first time since he was rushed to the hospital on April 28 after a babysitter reportedly found the boy listless on the floor after hearing a thump. The babysitter’s husband, 34-year-old Jay M. Hume, was charged Friday with first-degree assault of a child in connection to those injuries.
“It was nine days of torture. My son, he still sleeps in bed with me,” Duda said. “Feeling him on my chest and giving him a kiss for the first time, there’s no better feeling in the world. I can’t even explain how good that felt. It was like Christmas 100 times over.”
Duda, 31, of Spokane, said she had been taking her son to the home of Jay and Wendy Hume for a few months since she got a job in Spokane Valley where the Humes live. Duda said she has been friends with Wendy Hume, who has two young children of her own, since the fourth grade.
According to court records, Duda dropped off Kamari just before she started work at 9:05 a.m. on April 28. Just 2 1/2 hours later, Wendy Hume called Duda to say she needed to get to the hospital because the toddler had been injured.
Spokane County Sheriff’s Detective Mike Ricketts interviewed Dr. Michael Sokoloff at Sacred Heart about the boy’s injuries. Sokoloff told the detective that Kamari was in critical condition and had suffered a Grade 5 liver laceration, which is the worst he treats.
Kamari’s “injury pattern was indicative of abuse,” Ricketts wrote. Kamari “also had bruising over both sides of his chest and on his abdomen … that the degree of liver injury is indicative of a high velocity, high force impact” that a boy of Kamari’s age and size was incapable of causing to himself.
Deputies interviewed Wendy Hume, who said she went downstairs in their Spokane Valley home to do laundry. She had left her husband, Jay, to watch the kids.
While downstairs, she heard loud thumps from upstairs. “She found Jay Hume in the hallway near the bedroom with (Kamari),” court records state. “Jay Hume told her that (Kamari) fell off the bed.”
Deputy Jennifer Sutter then interviewed Jay Hume. He said Kamari tried to follow Wendy Hume downstairs but that he put Kamari in the bedroom where he started crying.
“He left (Kamari) and went back to the living room to play games,” court records state. He then heard a thump and found Kamari “lethargic, not responsive and groaning.”
Sutter then measured the distance from the top of the bed to the floor, which had thick carpet. The distance was 21 inches.
After discovering the boy, Wendy Hume called 911 and life-saving efforts commenced.
Ricketts wrote that based on what he saw, he doubted the explanation that the injuries came from a fall of 21 inches. It was “not plausible that (Kamari) would have suffered those serious injuries from falling off the bed onto the floor that had a rug on it,” court records state.
The detective noted that Kamari did not have any bruising on his back, which could be found as a result of a fall from a bed.
Based on the injuries and explanation that didn’t fit, Ricketts and Detective Mark Melville arrested Jay Hume at his job last Thursday. On the way to the Spokane County Jail, Hume “stuck with his initial story” about how he found Kamari, court records state.
After being told that Kamari’s injuries were more indicative of “high-velocity impact such as kicking, punching, striking with an object or throwing” Jay Hume then changed his story, Ricketts wrote.
Hume said he heard a thump and went to investigate “and slipped on some toy cars and fell with his full weight on top of (Kamari) with his palms hitting (Kamari) in the chest and abdomen area,” Ricketts wrote. Booking information lists Jay Hume as 5-foot-9 and 246 pounds.
Asked why he didn’t tell this to the first responding deputies, Hume said “he was scared that he would be accused of abuse and he would have his kids taken away from him and his wife,” court records state. “He denied losing his temper and purposefully assaulting” the boy.
But Hume also said that the toddler “did not like him” and was a “crybaby and needed to toughen up,” Ricketts wrote.
Hume appeared Friday before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Rachelle Anderson, who ordered him held on a $25,000 bond. Someone posted bond for Hume and he was released the same day.
Hume did not immediately respond to a Facebook request for an interview.
Duda said that along with a lacerated liver, her son has bile leaking into his body cavity.
“If we can’t get it stopped, the surgeon is looking at opening him up and doing a procedure on his stomach,” she said.
The doctors also said Kamari may have to undergo another technically difficult procedure that would require he be airlifted to a hospital in Seattle.
“They are keeping him stable,” she said. “The surgeons are collaborating about what is the best plan with what we are doing at this moment.”
She said the good news is that as long as part of the liver is functioning, that it could regenerate.
“But we are looking at six months to a year after he gets out of the hospital for recovery,” Duda said of her only child. “He’s still alive. I’m not worried about work or finances. My life is all about him right now.”