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Woman’s neglect blamed in child’s death

A 21-year-old Bremerton woman is in custody at Kitsap County Jail after allegedly neglecting her 18-month-old daughter, leading to the girl’s death.

Police arrested Richeal Marie Rhoades Monday afternoon after receiving a call in reference to a possible deceased child. She was arraigned at Kitsap County Courthouse Thursday on a charge or second-degree murder.

Court documents stated that Rhoades retrieved a small moving box from a closet containing her daughter’s body, presenting it to a Bremerton police detective, saying “it’s in here.”

Upon interviewing Rhoades, police learned that she had arrived in Bremerton in August, ahead of her husband, Michael, a Navy submariner stationed in Kings Bay, Ga. Two months later, she told police, she became depressed and distant toward her 3-year-old son and his younger sister, Brenda.

According to court documents, Rhoades said her depression and neglect progressively worsened. She told Bremerton Police Department and Naval Criminal Investigative Service detectives she let her son fend for himself, getting snacks and water from the kitchen, while she kept Brenda near her in a playpen, giving her milk but no solid foods.

Rhoades said to authorities that dirty diapers began to pile up, causing a bad smell, and about a week before Thanksgiving, Brenda came down with a high fever but she did not want to take her to a hospital, knowing she had neglected her children and fearing they would be taken away.

The girl recovered from the fever, but Rhoades explained that her own exhaustion was overwhelming to the point that one evening, she put the children in their rooms with some milk to drink but no solid food and slept “for a really long time.”

She estimated for police that she did not check on her son for 28-32 hours nor her daughter for 40-44 hours.

Rhoades found Brenda dead, and knew she had died from not being fed and improper care, police reports said. She told authorities she put Brenda’s body in a garbage sack and added some dirty diapers that had been lying around the room.

She chose not to call 911, she told authorities, and in panic and fearful, played a video game on her computer instead.

When her husband finally joined her in Washington Sunday, Dec. 11, she told him their daughter had died. The police report said Michael had to go back to work and when he came home, she said he seemed in a state of shock, putting their son to bed, becoming “intimate” with her later that night, and upon awakening, the next morning told her he was “going to tell somebody about what happened.”

Rhoades is being held on $500,000 bail.

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