Woman told detectives she strangled son to protect him

Autopsy planned today; hearing for suspect at 3 p.m.

UPDATE: Late Nov. 1, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office released the autopsy results, in which the boy’s identity was confirmed as Ryan Taylor Rosales, 9. The official cause of death was also confirmed as homicidal asphyxia.

BREMERTON — A 47-year-old Bremerton woman is charged with second-degree murder in the Oct. 31 strangulation death of her 9-year-old son, Ryan Taylor Rosales.

Amber Lynn James was booked into Kitsap County Jail later that night, and was scheduled to appear in Superior Court at 3 p.m. the next day.

About 6:58 a.m. Oct. 31, the boy’s father, James Rosales, called 911 and reported Ryan was “not breathing” and had bumps on his face,” according to the statement of probable cause written by Kitsap County Sheriff’s Detective Lori Blankenship.

Rosales started CPR, sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said; medics from Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue took over upon their arrival at the home in the 11400 block of NW Symes Road, Bremerton. Wilson said medics tried to resuscitate the boy for a while before they “finally had to declare him deceased.”

Wilson said sheriff’s officers who responded to the scene “felt the situation was suspicious enough that they requested detectives to respond.”

A deputy said Rosales told him that he had moved his son from the bed onto the floor, which is where the deputy indicated he saw the boy upon arrival, Blankenship wrote.

Blankenship described the bedroom as having “a reddish colored pool consistent with the appearance of blood” on the rug near the bed, as well as “writing and carving on the walls in this room,” which said things like “Harvest,” “Spaywar,” “Greed kills,” “Sex Trade,” “God is coming,” “No Pedo,” and “Michael=Devil.” There were also red-colored stains on the drapes and door frame to the bathroom in the same hallway as the bedroom, “consistent with the appearance of blood.”

Authorities had not determined who wrote or carved on the walls in the boy’s room.

Rosales told detectives that he woke up at about 4 a.m. and saw James walking back and forth. He told her to go to bed, then went back to bed himself. He woke up about 6:10 a.m. and took a shower. He noticed around 6:40 a.m. “a strong smell of gas” and found all four burners of the stove were turned on. There was no flame and the burner caps had been removed.

Rosales said he woke James up and asked her about the burners, but she denied turning them on. He said he then noticed scratches and blood on James’ neck which weren’t present when he saw her at 4 a.m.

“After speaking to Amber, [Rosales] opened all the windows of the house to vent the gas and went into his son’s bedroom to give him a kiss. When he did, he noticed that [his son] was cold to the touch and unresponsive,” Blankenship wrote.

Rosales said he, Ryan and James were the only ones in the house after 9:12 p.m. Oct. 30.

The dispatcher said Rosales “requested ‘somebody to take care of the mother, thinks mother has something to do with this … thinks mother is crazy, mother was up all night and gas was left on in the stove.’ ” The mother was identified as James.

Blankenship wrote that James agreed to a recorded interview outside the house when the detectives began their investigation.

“Amber told us that she’d recently been watching conspiracy-type videos on YouTube.com related to politics and ‘chemtrails,’ which seemed to have created some anxiety for her,” Blankenship wrote Oct. 31. “Yesterday, she’d been involved in an argument with her current boyfriend … and he’d apparently expressed his concern or displeasure with her watching these types of videos.”

James told detectives that she has been diagnosed with anxiety, for which she takes medication about once a month, but has no other mental health disorders.

James said after lunch Oct. 30, she picked up her son from school to take him to get a flu shot (which Blankenship said they didn’t go to) and planned to go to Costco “to get some ‘emergency supplies.’ ”

“She said that as the two of them drove, they repeatedly observed the same people and/or vehicles following them on numerous occasions,” Blankenship reported. “She stated that she’d driven around for 4.5 hours as a result.”

James said she stopped and reported it to Washington State Patrol “with little response from law enforcement.”

She ultimately arrived at Rosales’s house around 9:30 p.m. Oct. 30, and smoked marijuana shortly after arriving. She said she heard “things from inside the house” four or five times throughout the night, and “had armed herself with several knives in the spare bedroom where she stayed.” She also had a crowbar by the door, Blankenship reported.

Blankenship wrote that James “had lateral injuries on the left and right sides of her neck that appeared to be approximately 5-6 inches long. They appeared consistent with lacerations and appeared to be recent.” James said she received the injuries when she fell on the front porch.

“She was told that they didn’t look like injuries from a fall. She later stated, ‘Ah, f—k it with the knife,’ and made a horizontal motion across her neck demonstrating with her hand while facing me,” Blankenship wrote. “[She] was repeatedly rubbing the injuries to her neck to the point where they began to bleed.”

After the initial investigation, James was detained and transported to the Sheriff’s Office in Port Orchard. After being read her Miranda rights, she requested to speak to an attorney and was not questioned further.

When searched, detectives found cloves of garlic, two lighters and a small vial of holy water in her possession. Without being asked, James told a detective “she’d said a prayer ‘for my baby’ with the Holy Water.”

James was taken to Harrison Medical Center for a medical and mental health evaluation.

“At the hospital and unsolicited by Deputy [Brad] Trout, Amber told Deputy Trout that she needed to save her son from people that were after us, needed to protect him,” Blankenship wrote. “She described [her son] as the best kid in the world. She stated she prayed, thought about it, cried and then put her hands around his throat so he couldn’t breathe any longer.

“Amber then asked Deputy Trout, ‘How do I explain to someone why I just f—king killed my kid? What is a good explanation of that? I killed my f—king kid,’” Blankenship wrote. “Deputy Trout stated Amber did not cry or have any tears.”

Trout later overheard James “telling the doctor that she hurt her son so he couldn’t breathe” and that she told the mental health professional “that she received the red mark on her left hand when [her son] was fighting back,” Blankenship reported.

James was cleared medically by the doctor and determined to be non-suicidal by the mental health professional, and was transported to Kitsap County Jail and booked for murder in the second degree, with bail set at $1 million.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Gina Fino said at the scene of the crime Oct. 31 that her opinion was Ryan died “from homicidal asphyxia and that there was no other medical condition which would have resulted in the injuries observed,” which included evidence of extreme pressure to the chest, neck and head.

— Michelle Beahm is online editor of Kitsap News Group. She can be reached at mbeahm@soundpublishing.com.