Suspect in girl's beating sought police help the day before

Rosemary Shinohara
Neighbors confront Byron Syvinski, in dark shirt with back to camera, after he allegedly assaulted 7-year-old Am-Marie Martin June 5, 2011.
Photo by Megan Olson and Kurtis Klawiter
Andrea Dunwoody spoke to reporters about her daughter's condition on June 7, 2011, at Providence Alaska Medical Center. She holds a photo of her daughter, Am-Marie Martin, 7, who police say was beaten by a man on Eide Street in Midtown June 5, 2011.
MARC LESTER / Anchorage Daily News
Byron Syvinski is taken into custody after he allegedly assaulted 7-year-old Am-Marie Martin June 5, 2011.
Photo by Megan Olson and Kurtis Klawiter
Photo of Am-Marie Martin. Police say Am-Marie Martin, 7, was beaten outside her Midtown home by Byron Syvinski, 32, June 5, 2011.
Photo courtesy Andrea Dunwoody
Anchorage Police say 7-year-old Am-Marie Marin was beaten by Byron Syvinski, 32, near these apartment buildings on Eide Street June 5, 2011.
MARC LESTER / Anchorage Daily News

The man who police say brutally battered a 7-year-old girl while she was on her bike Sunday had called police to ask for help four times the day before, police spokeswoman Anita Shell said Tuesday.

Byron Syvinski was taken into protective custody based on his requests for help Saturday, but then was released before the violence on Eide Street in Midtown took place the next day, Shell said.

Shell didn't know when Syvinski was released from protective custody and said she couldn't say where he was taken Saturday for self-protection: "It's all rolled up into a criminal matter now."

Protective custody can mean jail or a hospital, Shell said.

Charges are pending against Syvinski for strong-arm robbery and third-degree assault, both felonies, and fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

A police report described him as showing signs of delirium when police picked him up at the scene of the attack Sunday, and he was taken to Alaska Regional Hospital. He is still hospitalized for treatment of an infection in a broken arm and probably won't be released for a couple of days, Shell said. When he is, he'll be taken to jail, she said.

Court records for Syvinski mention drug abuse dating back at least to 1999, when he was arrested for misconduct involving a controlled substance. Notes in that case file mention cocaine addiction and marijuana use. Last month, a probation officer suggested that his probation be revoked because he was caught "ingesting opiates without a prescription." He was serving 24 months of probation for stealing a friend's gun in 2009. He was still on probation at the time of the incident Sunday.

Syvinski, who lives on Eide Street, began lashing out at neighbors at about 4:40 p.m. Sunday, police say.

He took a bag away from a teenage boy, then punched the boy's father in the face when the father told Syvinski to leave, police say. He was wearing a thick white plaster cast on his left hand and wrist.

Syvinski then walked down the street and tried to take Am-Marie Martin's bicycle away, police say. When Am-Marie resisted, he hit her in the head, knocking her to the ground. He then punched her twice more, police say. She lost consciousness and ended up in intensive care at Providence Alaska Medical Center.

She was improving on Tuesday, her mother, Andrea Dunwoody, said in an interview from the Providence pediatric wing.

"She let me know she wants to go home," said Dunwoody.

Am-Marie was talking and moving more Tuesday, after a scary arrival at Providence on Sunday, said Dunwoody.

"When we brought her in ... she was incoherent. She could hear us, but wasn't really responding," Dunwoody said.

She had a concussion and brain hemorrhage, and doctors warned her parents she might have to undergo surgery, said Dunwoody. But she did not. She did better than expected, her mom said. But she is still considered to be in critical condition and is in pediatric intensive care.

Am-Marie will be a third-grader at North Star Elementary in the fall. She is normally outgoing, a jokester whose voice you can hear over all the other kids' when they're playing together, said her mother.

Dunwoody said she wants justice for the man who attacked her daughter.

Assault charges as outlined on the man's arrest warrant are not enough, she said, because he almost killed Am-Marie.

Syvinski has been charged by the Anchorage Police Department but he has not yet had an arraignment hearing to begin his court process. The District Attorney's Office can choose to increase or decrease the severity of charges based on evidence collected. The case has been assigned to Assistant District Attorney Robert Henderson.

Dunwoody said the attacker "does not deserve to walk the streets."

Other neighbors came to her rescue or she might have died, her mother said.

"This is something I never in my worst nightmare thought would happen."

Julia O'Malley contributed to this story. Reach Rosemary Shinohara at or 257-4340.

Photos: Assault suspect arrested