Suspect jailed in Delta toddler’s death

DELTA — Two-year-old Jesse Dorsch of Delta died in November from traumatic injuries that one forensic examiner called a “classic case of child abuse,” and the boyfriend of the child’s mother was arrested this week on suspicion he beat the child to death.

Lukus James Koch, 28, was arrested Wednesday evening on suspicion of child abuse resulting in death, and he remains in the Delta County Jail on a $150,000 bond. Formal charges are expected Wednesday in Delta County court.

According to an arrest affidavit, Koch brought the child to the emergency room of Delta Memorial Hospital about 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27.

The child was pale, not breathing and did not have a pulse. Multiple contusions and abrasions on his back, face, chest and to the left iliac crest of the hipbone were visible, the affidavit said.

Hospital staff tried unsuccessfully to revive Jesse, and the time of death was noted at 6:11 p.m. Hospital staff suspected child abuse and immediately called law enforcement, the affidavit said.

Koch was described as emotional, upset and highly animated at times, pacing around the emergency room crying and falling to his knees.

Witnesses told Delta County Sheriff’s Department investigators that Koch seemed more upset than close family members, even the child’s biological mother.

Koch was taken to the Sheriff’s Department, where he told investigators he and Jesse were home alone after the mother left to run an errand Nov. 27. According to the affidavit, Koch was playing video games when Jesse awoke from a nap and wanted to play.

Koch told investigators he threw Jesse into a living-room couch as part of a game the two often play.

“Lukus said Jesse would roll off the couch, onto the floor then jump up saying ‘do it again,’ ” the affidavit read.

According to the affidavit, Koch said the two played like this for a while before Jesse grabbed his left hip as if something was wrong, and Jesse didn’t want to play anymore and wanted to color instead.

Koch told investigators he took Jesse to his room to color and placed the child on the floor. Koch said he continued to play video games and later went to check on Jesse and found him slumped over, apparently passed out.

Koch said the child felt cold, was pale and did not “seem right.”

NEVER CALLED 911

Sheriff’s Department investigator Duane Morton wrote in the affidavit “even with these concerns, Lukus never called 911 or directed (name withheld) to seek medical help for Jesse.”

In the coroner’s report, a pathologist listed Jesse’s death as a homicide and said the child bled to death internally as a result of blunt-force trauma of the abdomen.

The autopsy found the child’s chest cavity filled with blood, a torn and bruised bowel, torn and bruised mesentery, left lower bruised lung and a bruised and torn spleen with some bleeding.

The pathologist wrote: “The onset of symptoms to the time of death was within minutes, not days or hours … the injuries would be very painful and would cause crying and eventually shock, leading the child to pass out or be lethargic.”

Investigators obtained text messages from the phone of the boy’s mother after the incident and found one the day after Jesse’s death in which Koch wrote: “baby all I did was throw him on the couch just like he likes to do(,) do you think I have ever been mean to him.”

On Nov. 30, Koch was admitted to the emergency room at Delta Memorial Hospital after swallowing a large amount of Tylenol pills, resulting in a week stay in the intensive-care unit, the affidavit said.

Since his release from the hospital, Koch has not been cooperative and has refused to explain discrepancies associated with his previous statements and accounts, the affidavit said.

Medical records detail that there were no aolments or problems with Jesse prior to Nov. 27.


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