The Journal Gazette
Thursday, March 21, 2019 1:00 am

Emergency workers recall boy's condition

Witnesses testify on extent of injuries in murder trial

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

When Mitchell Vanryn arrived about 4:40 p.m. Nov. 29, 2017, at Fire Station No. 13 on North Clinton Street, firefighters moved quickly to try to help the nearly lifeless toddler he was carrying.

Pat Riley took 2-year-old Malakai Garrett in his arms and laid the boy across a table in the firehouse kitchen. The veteran firefighter said Vanryn, 28, was talking, saying something about Malakai not breathing.

Emergency workers set to work, trying to keep the boy alive. They were unsuccessful.

“I checked the patient's eyes,” Ty Conley of the Fort Wayne Fire Department said Wednesday. “They were dilated and fixed.”

Malakai was pronounced dead less than two hours later at Parkview Regional Medical Center.

The details were included in witness testimony on the second day of Vanryn's trial in Allen Superior Court. He is accused of beating the child to death and is charged with murder, aggravated battery and domestic battery.

Amber Garrett, 27, Malakai's mother, is charged with two counts of felony neglect in the case. Her trial is scheduled June 24.

Police and prosecutors allege Vanryn – a former Marine who had worked in a boxing gym and studied the sport, according to one witness – beat Malakai so badly inside a home on Palmetta Court he suffered a lacerated pancreas and other internal injuries.

Unable to wake the boy up, Vanryn picked up the boy and took him to the nearby fire station, where firefighters called 911.

Paramedic Christella Crickard testified that Malakai, covered in bruises, was “breathing less than half of what a normal person should be breathing.”

“It got worse,” she said. “He had a pulse when we first arrived. Then he stopped breathing altogether.”

At the hospital, Dr. Jayesh Patel treated the boy. The wounds he suffered were the result of abuse, he said in court.

Vanryn was looking after Malakai while the child's mother was working, according to court documents. Evidence presented Wednesday included a series of text messages showing Vanryn growing increasingly frustrated with his child care duties. Several messages reference Malakai's inability or unwillingness to use the bathroom.

“He's in deep (expletive) trouble,” a message sent to Garrett in August states.

A message sent to Garrett in early November says Vanryn is “done watching the kids from now on. You need to find daycare.”

“(Malakai) is in trouble for the rest of the day,” reads a message sent two days before the child died.

Several witnesses testified Malakai had a soiled diaper when he was taken to the fire station.

The trial continues today, and Vanryn is expected to testify.

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