Toddler dies after mom's boyfriend allegedly performed wrestling moves on her

Posted at 7:16 AM, May 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-25 07:16:52-04

JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO (KTVI/CNN) – A woman and her boyfriend have been arrested and charged with the murder of her 2-year-old daughter after police say the boyfriend performed “wrestling moves” on the toddler and the mother tried to cover up the abuse.

Addie Cook, 2, died May 19 after being taken to the hospital a few days earlier.

"It’s terrible. I just couldn't understand how somebody could do that to a 30-pound baby. I mean, it looked like she got run over. That's how bad she looked,” said Jim Boyce, Addie’s step-grandfather.

The toddler’s mother, 19-year-old Cheyenne Cook, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, and Cook’s boyfriend, 24-year-old Richard Gamache, is charged with abuse and neglect of a child.

Captain Gary Higginbotham with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says crews responded May 16 to a call of a child having a seizure.

"Deputies weren't on the scene very long and noticed obvious signs of abuse that lead to a child abuse investigation,” Higginbotham said.

Higginbotham says Gamache admitted to detectives that he performed numerous wrestling moves, including a body slam, on Addie.

Cook was working at the time, but detectives found text messages between Gamache and Cook talking about the abuse that was taking place and how to conceal it.

"It is pretty obvious, pretty serious. There were photographs taken along with apologies, and there was talk about how we can cover up the bruising,” Higginbotham said.

Boyce says Addie was airlifted to a children’s hospital.

"They removed part of her skull to relieve pressure off of her. I didn't get to see her until four in the morning, and it looked like she was in a bar fight from head to toe,” he said.

Cook and Addie lived with Boyce and his wife until six days prior to the incident, Boyce says. Then, she moved in with Gamache and his parents.

"It was my job to protect them, and I kind of failed,” Boyce said.

Boyce says Addie loved playing with her older brother, and he loved her dearly.

Police say Gamache abused the 2-year-old over time, and her mother was complacent and did not intervene or seek medical help.

Copyright 2017 KTVI, Jim Boyce, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office via CNN. All rights reserved.