Jun 25, 2011 11:02 PM by Shannon Newth
October Perez, the two year old Great Falls girl who received massive head trauma and multiple bone fractures in Thursday's alleged abuse incident, has died.
The aunt of the little girl, Alissa Phipps, tells KRTV that the toddler passed away early Saturday with her mother and grandmother at her side.
Phipps said, "As of 1:24 this morning, they determined her as deceased. She still is on life support, preserving the organs for donation. A lot of hurt, we just want answers."
David Hyslop, who is charged with attempted deliberate homicide in the case, remains in custody on a $750,000 bond; the County Attorney indicated on Friday that the charge may be amended if necessary.
Hyslop was caring for October on Thursday afternoon when she suffered the injuries.
Hyslop told police that he dropped the child when he was putting her down for a nap, but emergency department staff at Benefis hospital noted severe bruising and head trauma consistent with child abuse.
The child was subsequently flown to Salt Lake City on Thursday night for medical treatment.
A witness in the residence said he heard "striking" noises coming from the basement at the time the child was injured. The witness also states he saw a red mark on the side of the victim's head.
Hyslop admitted he knew the child was injured, but did not immediately seek medical attention. Instead, he left the little girl in her room until her mother came home and discovered the child was not breathing.
Hyslop, 28, has a history of run-ins with the law; he was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance in Oklahoma in 2003; as a result, his own children were removed from his care by Oklahoma Child Protective Services.
Great Falls police tell us they've had misdemeanor run-ins with Hyslop before, and in February 2011 he was under investigation for abusing the same victim.
The victim's family tells KRTV that efforts to remove the victim from the home and place her in the custody of her paternal grandmother started in January.
The grandmother, April Hall, and her sister, Mary Leibrand, claim they noticed signs of abuse and brought it to the attention of the Department of Family Services.
Court documents state that medical staff who examined the victim on Thursday advised investigators of older bruising and other injuries indicative of child abuse.
We submitted questions to the Department of Family Services but have received no reply as of Friday evening.
The family members are all from Great Falls, but were on vacation in Chicago.
The victim's father, Michael Arndt, is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve and is deployed on his third tour to Afghanistan; he's been allowed to leave his unit and is currently on his way back to Great Falls.
Jessica Bray knows all too well the tragedy of child abuse - her three year old daughter Kaelyn was killed by an abusive boyfriend last year in Great Falls.
After her daughter's death, Bray created The Dandelion Foundation to help educate and raise awareness of the issue.
Bray says the community can help begin the healing process, telling us, "The community needs to embrace this family. The community embraced my family tremendously and helped us to see that not everybody is bad, and that there are people out there that genuinely care, and we need to move this family towards a place of healing and towards a place where they can move forward in the wake of such a horrible tragedy."
Bray says in order to keep abuse like this from happening again, people need to be diligent about speaking up.
In Kaelyn's case, Jerimie Hicks was convicted and sentenced to 100 years in prison.
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