Chandra M. Munsey consults with a temporary defense attorney during her bail hearing on Monday afternoon.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – A 22-year-old arrested on Thursday was charged yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court with two counts of second-degree child assault, in a case involving her boyfriend’s toddlers.
The two little boys were taken into protective custody after their father called police and the children were checked out at Providence Centralia Hospital and then Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, according to their father Casiano Baldovinos.
Baldovinos is standing by his girlfriend, Chandra M. Munsey, and attended her bail hearing yesterday afternoon.
“I know that Chandra’s innocent,” Baldovinos said outside the courtroom.
Authorities have revealed little about the case, saying the investigation is ongoing.
Munsey was brought before a judge on Friday afternoon, when a prosecutor asked to have the documents detailing the allegations sealed. Judge James Lawler granted the request.
Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead indicated he wasn’t ready to file charges, and asked that Munsey continue to be held in the jail at least until another hearing after the weekend.
Munsey was brought before the judge again yesterday afternoon, after the criminal charges were filed, where defense attorney Joely O’Rourke asked the court to consider releasing her with an unsecured or co-signed bond.
“She has absolutely no felony history, and has a stable residence in Chehalis with her boyfriend,” O’Rourke said.
Judge Lawler set her bail at $50,000.
Baldovinos said his boys, ages 2 and 3, live with him in rural Chehalis. He’s cared for the oldest one nearly all his life, and last year at this time, got the court to make their mother’s family turn the youngest over to him.
He and their mother are not together, he said.
The boys’ grandmother, Rebecca Torres of Centralia, said she’s been warning authorities something bad could happen, since the day police came to take the youngest from her home.
“I’ve been trying for a year to keep them safe,” Torres said, sobbing.
Their mother is in prison, serving a sentence of a year and day for something Torres called petty. Jessica Schroeder, 27, should be getting out next month, her mother said. But Schroeder signed her youngest over to her mother when he was five months old, Torres said.
Exactly what happened remains under investigation, but photos shared by Torres and her 17-year-old daughter on social media last week show the two-year-old with a black and swollen eye. His brother’s picture shows marks on his face as well.
Baldovinos said the children stayed a couple of nights early last week with his girlfriend’s parents, in rural Centralia. When he picked them up, Munsey’s father told him the children scuffled, and one gave the other a black eye, he said.
But he didn’t believe that, he said, and he called police.
The court document filed yesterday that charges Munsey, indicates prosecutors believe the assaults occurred between Monday and Wednesday of last week.
Second-degree child assault is a class B felony, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. The offense involves recklessly inflicting substantial bodily harm upon a child younger than 13 years old.
Munsey’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court.