Man held in death of baby in Montrose

Daniel Lee Ryan

Investigators believe a 14-month-old girl was fatally injured at a Montrose home before the man suspected of killing her took the girl to her mother’s workplace, Montrose Police Chief Tom Chinn said Tuesday.

Chinn said there is no evidence that 23-year-old Daniel Lee Ryan contacted anyone or sought help for the baby, Hailey L. Rocha, before Ryan showed up with the injured child around 8 p.m. Saturday at Taco Bell, 2050 S. Townsend Ave.

Ryan contacted Hailey Rocha’s mother, and an off-duty emergency medical technician who happened to be in the restaurant tried to revive the baby, who was unresponsive and not breathing.

The child was pronounced dead later that evening at Montrose Memorial Hospital.

Montrose County Coroner Dr. Thomas Canfield said Rocha died from blunt-force trauma, multiple blows that were “rapidly fatal.” Authorities declined Tuesday to specify how the child was injured.

Montrose District Judge John Mitchell on Tuesday increased bond from $150,000 to $500,000 during Ryan’s first court appearance. Ryan is being held at Montrose County Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. An arrest affidavit in the case has been filed under seal.

Mitchell moved to increase Ryan’s bond after hearing from Wayne Rocha, the slain infant’s uncle, who asked the judge to raise Ryan’s bond or hold him without bond.

“My sister doesn’t feel safe,” Wayne Rocha said before walking away, glaring toward Ryan, who was sitting at a table with his head bowed.

Ryan, who appeared without an attorney Tuesday, declined to say anything about the question of bond when asked by the judge.

Investigators believe Hailey Rocha had been left in Ryan’s care Saturday night, and that he and the baby were alone inside a home at 600 N. Cascade Ave. before Ryan rushed the child to Taco Bell, Chinn said.

Police said Ryan is not Hailey Rocha’s father.

Wayne Rocha said his sister had been living with Ryan for the past several months.

A review of online records with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation turned up no criminal history for Ryan in Colorado.

Martha Lehigh, a family friend of Rochas, said a memorial fund for Hailey Rocha will be established through Wells Fargo Bank in Montrose.


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