MONTESANO, Wash. - The father of a newborn baby has been charged with murder in the baby's death.
Patrick Parnel, 22, was charged with murder for the death of the baby girl found in the woods near Ocean Shores last week.
According to investigators, Parnel told them when he placed the baby in the woods, she started crying. He said he got "an object" from his car and hit her with it.
After she was dead he tried to cover up her body with branches and leaves.
Parnel originally told police he thought the baby was dead when it was born.
The mother, 21-year-old Brittany Taylor, was charged with abandonment. She told police she also thought the baby was dead and told the father to "take care of it," according to court documents.
Investigators said it is possible she never knew the baby was alive.
Washington State's Safety of Newborn Children Law
In Washington state, within 72 hours of an infant's birth, you can leave an infant at any hospital without fear of prosecution. An infant is most vulnerable within the first few hours of life, so it is critical that the infant receives any needed medical care.
Designated Drop-Off Locations
You must leave your baby with a qualified person at one of the following 3 locations to avoid prosecution:
- The emergency department of a hospital in Washington State. This is the safest drop-off location.
- A fire station during its hours of operation. The law states that you may drop off your infant at a fire station, however, this is not the safest drop-off location. Some fire stations may not be staffed, or may be empty for extended periods of time while crews respond to emergencies. Under the Safety of Newborn Children Law, you must leave your infant with a qualified person.
- Federally designated rural health clinic during its hours of operation.
- A parent of a newborn who leaves their newborn with a qualified person at a designated drop-off location is not subject to criminal liability. A qualified person means any person that you reasonably believe is:
- An employee, volunteer, or medical staff member of a hospital or federally designated rural health clinic during its hours of operation.
- A fire fighter, volunteer, or emergency medical technician at a fire station.
- As long as the newborn is brought in unharmed from abuse or neglect, the guarantee of anonymity and immunity from prosecution applies.