James Maurice Reeder, the man arrested on Thursday in connection with the death of a 2-year-old Centralia girl, has been charged with homicide by abuse, two counts of first-degree rape of a child, two counts of first-degree assault and possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).
Reeder, 25, was charged Tuesday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.
The toddler, Koralynn Fister, was living with her mother, sibling and Reeder, who was her mother’s boyfriend at the time of her death. She was pronounced dead Thursday after Reeder brought her body to a neighbor’s home, claiming she had drowned in a bathtub.
The autopsy of Koralynn, however, revealed extensive injuries to the girl that indicated prolonged abuse, according to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office. Koralynn’s mother, Becky Heupel, was not home at the time of her death.
During Reeder's court appearance, family and friends of David Fister, the biological father of Koralynn, filled two rows of the courtroom. Many had blue ribbons pinned on their chest representing their support for the protection of children.
Reeder's attorney, David Arcuri, said Reeder is a lifetime Lewis County resident and Reeder has no prior felony convictions.
The day before the toddler's death, one of Koralynn's maternal aunts noticed an injury on the child's bottom and told Koralynn's mother about it, according to court documents. Koralynn's mother discussed the injury with Reeder, who convinced her that the toddler did not need medical care and that the injuries were "simple, childhood injuries," according to court documents.
Police are still investigating the case, and an arrest of Koralynn's mother is not imminent, said Detective Sgt. Pat Fitzgerald.
A search warrant of the home revealed marijuana and what police believe to be methamphetamine, Fitzgerald said. A warrant was issued for a blood drug test for Reeder; however, police do not know when the results will come back.
Reeder's bail is set at $5 million. He is scheduled to reappear in court on June 7.