A Wyoming man is accused of savagely killing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son and dumping his body in a dumpster—after apparently taking a blowtorch to it.
Prosecutors from the Laramie County District Attorney’s office announced the charges against Wyatt Dean Lamb late Monday, four months after 2-year-old Athian Rivera’s body was found wrapped in a sheet and stuffed in garbage bags in a Cheyenne dumpster.
A nine-page probable cause affidavit from the Cheyenne Police Department provides a gut-wrenching account of Rivera’s final moments.
According to the affidavit, Athian’s mother, Kassandra Orona, who was living with Lamb, reported her son missing at about 1 p.m. on Feb. 19, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports. After a frenzied search, the little boy’s body was found inside a dumpster at the apartment complex where Orona lived with her children. His body was still warm.
An autopsy determined that the toddler had died at some point between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. that day—when Lamb had apparently been trying to keep Orona from seeing her son, as she would later tell investigators. She had worked the night shift and left her children in Lamb’s care.
The circumstances of Athian’s death are not entirely clear, but the Laramie County medical examiner detailed nothing short of torture in an autopsy report. The 2-year-old had suffered “scattered blunt force injuries over much of the body.” His body was covered with contusions and abrasions. He had burn marks throughout his genital area and upper legs that investigators say were consistent with a blowtorch found in the couple’s apartment. His cause of death was listed as a cerebral edema with herniation, caused either by blunt force trauma so severe it caused brain swelling, or restricted oxygen. Or both.
Lamb, who was the one to first report the boy missing to Orona, was described as acting “odd” while several people frantically searched for the boy around the building, according to the affidavit. One witness told investigators he did not appear “worried or flustered” by the boy being gone.
Lamb is currently being held on a $1 million bond in Laramie County jail, and he faces a possible death sentence if convicted of the first-degree murder charge against him. In addition to the murder charge, he also faces 10 counts of child abuse.
He has been in jail since his arrest in February for violating bond conditions in an unrelated case. In that case, he was reportedly prohibited from going anywhere near Orona or being within one block of her home after being charged with felony strangulation of a family member.