A person of interest in the death of a Milton-Freewater baby is in custody on a separate matter, officials said.
Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus said the hold on the 16-year-old boy is unrelated to the death.
Primus declined to identify the teen, due to his age, or his relationship with the baby, who was identified Monday as 5-month-old Dominic Freel.
Barbara Freel of Milton-Freewater, Dominic’s great-grandmother, said her teenage grandson is a suspect in the death and was the baby’s father.
Dominic was celebrated as the first baby born in the Walla Walla Valley this year, arriving at 12:14 a.m. Jan. 1. A photo of parents Evan Freel and Abby Smart, who was holding Dominic, ran in the Union-Bulletin on Jan. 3.
Barbara Freel was quoted as saying, “We could hear the fireworks go off as he delivered.”
The case is being investigated as a homicide.
Primus declined to comment on the cause of death “so as to maintain our investigation.”
According to Primus, Milton-Freewater police were the first to arrive on scene Wednesday evening.
Greenwood said Dominic was taken by ambulance at 5:30 p.m. from the Elizabeth Street address to Providence St. Mary Medical Center, where the boy died at 6:23 p.m.
The Umatilla County Major Crime Team was then activated to investigate, Primus said.
Barbara Freel told the East Oregonian that Evan was taken into custody about 2 a.m. Thursday “on a probation violation for not participating in an anti-drug and alcohol class,” adding that he is being held at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facilities in The Dalles.
Primus said he and investigators are working to determine if they will go through the grand jury process to bring about any charges.