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Wasilla man charged in death of 2-year-old

Devin Kelly

A Wasilla man has been accused of causing the death of a 2-year-old boy, authorities said.

Jyzyk John Sharpe, 40, was arrested Thursday night in Anchorage and faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges, police said. He was caring for three of his girlfriend's children last month when one of them died from "blunt force trauma," according to a charging document.

About 1:09 p.m. on March 21, officers with the Wasilla Police Department responded to a home at 201 Quincy Circle in Wasilla where CPR was being performed on a 2-year-old who was "not breathing or doing well," according to an affidavit filed in the case by Officer Daniel M. Bennett with Wasilla police. A first responder reported that the child did not have a pulse when paramedics arrived.

The child, identified as Ezekiel Dockery, was taken to Mat-Su Regional Hospital and pronounced dead at 1:53 p.m. An autopsy conducted by the State Medical Examiner's Office revealed that the boy had suffered bruises around his head and back area, lacerations to his lips, a fractured spine, bruised lungs and a torn aorta that had caused hemorrhaging, Bennett wrote in the affidavit.

The medical examiner concluded the injuries were "consistent with a victim in a car accident," Bennett wrote.

Sharpe told investigators that the boy had slipped and fallen down while getting into the shower, the documents said. He said he had broken the boy's ribs while performing CPR, according to a paramedic interviewed by police.

The boy's mother and Sharpe's girlfriend, Tennille Downey, was in Anchorage at the time for work training, said Wasilla Police Chief Gene Belden. Phone records collected by investigators show multiple phone calls exchanged between the two between 10 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. that day.

Downey told authorities that she did not suspect Sharpe of hurting her child "because he takes care of the kids as if they were his own," Bennett wrote. In an interview with authorities, Sharpe told authorities that he was giving Dockery, who he called Zeekee, and his twin 4-year-old sisters a shower, and that he was preparing to get in the shower with them when the 2-year-old slipped and fell.

Downey attributed the cuts on the child's lips to one of the twins pushing Dockery down a few days earlier, the affidavit said.

The medical examiner, however, told investigators that the "injuries were inconsistent with a fall in the bath tub, and the injuries were not incurred by CPR efforts," Bennett wrote.

A child forensic expert consulted in the case agreed, indicating that "the injuries could not have come from CPR, falling in the shower or the 4-year-old twins," according to the affidavit. The expert, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, said the injury could only have come from severe blunt force trauma, and was consistent with those seen in a pedestrian who had been struck by a vehicle, Bennett wrote.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the incident, Belden said. Sharpe was arrested at Providence Medical Hospital in Anchorage, according to Belden, but it was unclear why he was there. Sharpe was scheduled to appear in court at 1 p.m. Friday at the Palmer Courthouse.

Reach Devin Kelly at dkelly@adn.com or 257-4314.


By DEVIN KELLY
dkelly@adn.com