911 caller: 'He's crying and crying, the dad. And the baby is gone'
Just-released 911 calls reveal the agonizing moments as neighbors tried to save a dying Centralia toddler.
Koralynn Fister was in the care of her mother's boyfriend when she drowned in a bathtub in what police are calling a torture case. That man, 25-year-old James Reeder, has been charged with homicide by abuse in the 2-year-old girl's death.
But Reeder's attorneys point out it was he who called for help and began performing CPR on the girl when she stopped breathing.
Koralynn died last Thursday despite Reeder's and neighbors' attempts to save her. When Reeder came knocking for help with the lifeless child in his arms, neighbor Mary Stiltner called 911.
"Hurry, hurry. 201 W. Oakview Ave. A baby has fallen in the bathtub and is not breathing. Our number is 104. Hurry!" she told the 911 dispatcher.
Reeder can be heard in the background during the 911 call.
"She tripped in the bathtub and hit her freaking head on the way down," he said.
"Hurry, she's not breathing," said Stiltner.
The Stiltners say Reeder originally tried CPR, but Ray Stiltner, a retired cop, eventually took over efforts.
"Oh, he's crying and crying, the dad. And the baby is gone," Mary Stiltner told the 911 dispatcher.
Reeder can be heard howling in despair: No!"
"No, she's not breathing. Hasn't been," said Mary Stiltner. "Oh, he's beside himself."
But police don't believe Reeder was grief-stricken. They claim Reeder tortured the little girl the last few weeks of her life.
In court on Tuesday, Koralynn's father, David Fister, appeared dazed after the heinous charges were read.
Detectives said Reed asked the girl's mother for permission to babysit the girl all day and every day. He repeatedly raped the child and hurt her so badly that patches of skin were missing from her body and her toes, according to court documents.
"I won't go into graphic detail, but suffice it to say that in my entire legal career, this is the worst case of child abuse and neglect I have seen," said Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.
Detectives say Reeder apparently managed to hide the girl's injuries from her mother, Becky Huepel. Huepel learned on Tuesday her 4-year-old daughter will be kept in protective custody, at least for now.
On Monday night, several hundred people gathered for a candlelight vigil to honor the memory of little Koralynn. Those who accompanied Huepel to court on Tuesday expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support.
Reeder remains held on $5 million bail.