Murder charge filed in death of Ames toddler; two people arrested

Isabella Rosario
Ames Tribune

Two people have been arrested in connection with the death of a 2-year-old Ames boy in April, according to a news release from the Ames Police Department. 

Trevin D. Nicholson, 25, of Centennial, Colorado, is charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death. Nicholson was arrested Tuesday in Douglas County, Colorado, and is awaiting extradition to Iowa, the release said.

Danielle M. Obrecht, 26, of Ames is charged with child endangerment causing death and is being held in the Story County Jail.

The charges came after witness interviews, autopsy results from the Polk County Medical Examiner and additional forensic evidence, according to the release.

At approximately 3:24 p.m. on April 24, Ames emergency units responded to a report of a 2-year-old having difficulty breathing in the 1200 block of Florida Avenue, according to a criminal complaint against Obrecht. First responders found the boy lying on his back with “severe bruising and swelling to his head indicating the child was suffering from severe trauma,” the complaint said.

Previously: Death of Ames toddler under investigation by police, Iowa Department of Human Services

According to Ames police, Obrecht returned to the apartment while first responders were on the scene and identified herself as the boy’s mother. The boy was airlifted to a Des Moines hospital in critical condition and died April 25.

The charging document says Obrecht told investigators that Nicholson, who she said was her boyfriend, was watching her son while she was at work on April 17 when the boy’s injuries occurred, as well as on April 23 and April 24.

Obrecht reportedly said when she got home from work on April 17, she observed that her son had bruising to his face, head and torso, and that Nicholson told Obrecht his injuries were caused from falling off a booster seat at the kitchen table.

Ames police allege Obrecht “intentionally did not take (him) to get medical attention, stating she knew she should have as (his) injuries appeared to be worsening, but she was afraid DHS would take (him) away.” According to police, Obrecht also did not take the boy to daycare after April 17 and refused to let other family members visit him.

The boy died due to traumatic events causing injuries to his head and spine, according to an autopsy by the Polk County Medical Examiner. The medical examiner concluded that the boy’s injuries were inconsistent with him falling from a booster seat but were consistent with “intentional acts of abuse.” According to the criminal complaint, the boy’s injuries “may have been survivable” if he had received medical attention earlier.

Charging documents for Nicholson were not immediately available Thursday.

Isabella Rosario is a public safety reporter for the Ames Tribune. She can be reached by email at irosario@gannett.com or on Twitter at @irosarioc.