Blaming The Babysitter
"The detectives involved were looking at everybody," remembers Chief Kimerer.
Late Sunday night, police brought all three in for questioning; a Detective Stevens interviewed Ashley into the early morning hours before deciding to videotape her statements, after getting her permission to do so.
Police provided Ashley with a doll to help her recount what happened in the hours leading up to Freya losing consciousness.
"I was like washing her hair and putting her back and she started kicking me and screaming and I said, 'Freya, stop screaming! It is a bath!" Ashley recalled on tape.
Asked what happened after the bath, Ashley told police, "After the bath, she was just like 'whoooohhhh.' 'Cause she wouldn't really walk, she was just like…," she explained, showing the baby doll slumping over.
The more Ashley talked, the worse it got.
"'You have no reason to be crying.' And she just kept screaming. So I said 'Freya!'" Ashley told police.
"When Ashley stated that she had shaken the baby and then went into further detail and then ultimately demonstrated it to Detective Stevens, that's when the world changed," says Kimerer.
While Ashley's world was changing, her parents, John Howes and Mary Rowe were at home sleeping.
"We received a call that night at 9 o'clock from Gracian telling us that Freya was in the hospital. I offered to go over to Seattle and pick up Madeline and Ashley so they can focus on Freya. And Gracian told me that he would call me right back," recalls Mary Rowe.
But that call never came. Instead, the next time they heard from anyone wasn't until 4 a.m. Monday. Seattle police detectives called to inform them of Ashley's arrest for the assault of Freya Garden.
"The proof did not point to Morningstar," says Chief Kimerer. "The proof did not point to Gracian. The proof pointed to Ashley."
At that point, Ashley's parents went to catch the ferry to Seattle.
"We had no information about anything. We had nothing. Nobody told us anything," remembers John Howes.
Meanwhile, Morningstar and Cline went back to the hospital to be with Freya.
"They've been working on her for hours and hours," Morningstar Garden tearfully recalls. "It did finally come out that they were continuing to work on her to try to make me feel better. And I just told them to stop."
Freya Garden was pronounced dead at 5:20 a.m. Monday, nearly 12 hours after the 911 call from Ashley, who was now a murder suspect.
What went through Ashley's mind when she heard Freya had died?
"I just felt like I was stabbed. I just held my breath," says Ashley. "I didn't know what I was thinking. I couldn't speak. I really just felt, went down like something heavy just dropped on me. It's something bad to try and think when you hang out with kids all the time that now one is dead. And they died in your care pretty much, that somebody died - you care - it's terrible. It's like somebody's trying to hit you with a hammer and they're hitting you. And you're getting the wind knocked out of you while being stabbed repeatedly in the heart."
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