SAN ANTONIO – The parent of a 17-month-old baby who was pronounced dead this weekend had been under investigation for child abuse for more than a year, but wasn’t indicted by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office until Monday, days after the child’s death.
The child, Lyriq Ogilvie Artis, was pronounced dead Saturday after Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies discovered his unresponsive body at a home in northeast Bexar County.
One of the child’s parents, Rick Artis, 25, was indicted Monday — for an injury to a child causing serious bodily injury — in connection to an October 2018 incident involving the same child who died this weekend, multiple agencies involved in the case have confirmed.
According to the indictment, Rick Artis is accused of striking Lyriq. The indictment also accuses him of causing injuries to the baby by not properly restraining Lyriq in his car and failing to seek medical care for the baby’s injuries.
He has not been formally charged in the death of the child, but the delay in the first case could raise questions about whether the death could have been prevented if Rick Artis was indicted sooner than 11 months.
Officials from the DA’s office have not said why Artis was not indicted in the 2018 case until two days after the child’s death.
Court records obtained by the Defenders show San Antonio police handed the DA’s office the 2018 case in early 2019.
An SAPD spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon the report on the 2018 incident was not available because it involved a crime against a minor, but two sources told KSAT that the report states that the then-one-month-old Lyriq’s skull was fractured.
Court records show that there were no updates in the case until Monday, two days after the baby’s death, when Artis was indicted.
A DA spokeswoman released the following statement to KSAT Tuesday afternoon:
“The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office does not comment on pending cases. However, this Defendant was indicted Monday on the October 2018 incident after additional information was provided to our office on February 23, 2020, regarding the October case.”
BCSO deputies responded to a home in the 6700 block of Brothers Lane, in northeast Bexar County, Saturday morning after receiving a report of a 17-month-old not breathing, according to preliminary information released by BCSO Tuesday.
Lyriq was later taken to a hospital but did not survive.
The preliminary report indicates that the child’s parents had been investigated by Child Protective Services in the past for injury to a child.
A CPS spokeswoman said Tuesday that the agency conducted an investigation along with law enforcement in 2018 and handed over its findings to them.
The spokeswoman then confirmed the agency has opened a second investigation following Lyriq’s death and has removed siblings from the home.
The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s office on Tuesday referred all questions from the Defenders about Lyriq’s death to BCSO’s homicide unit.
BCSO officials have declined to describe the manner in which Lyriq died. Multiple sources described it as a possible smothering incident.
Artis remains in jail on a $150,000 bond, court records show. Incredibly, if Artis is released on bond, he’s been ordered to have no contact with the baby, who died Saturday.
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