A dad in Colorado is accused of attempted first-degree murder after he and his son were rescued from fenced-off icy water in Denver.
Michael Ninomiya, 42, was arrested Wednesday, a week after emergency responders from the Denver Fire Department fished him and his son out of a drainage culvert, according to the Denver Police Department.
While Ninomiya allegedly emerged with a laceration on his forehead, doctors treating the injured five-year-old at the Children’s Hospital told cops that he was on a ventilator in “extremely critical condition and possibly would not survive.” His condition remained dire earlier this week due to fluctuating pressure in his brain, cops said.
According to a heavily redacted arrest affidavit obtained by the The Daily Beast, Ninomiya is also being investigated in connection with the incident on suspicion of an attempt to commit child abuse to cause serious bodily injury and death.
After setting out for a hiking adventure with his son on Jan. 12, Ninomiya had allegedly called 911 around 4:15 p.m. to report what happened, but he was “unable to provide a clear location” to help firefighters find them, the arrest affidavit states.
It remains unclear from the affidavit where Ninomiya was when he called police, but investigators said that the 911 operator asks Ninomiya if he was with his son and subsequently asked “if he can get back to his son to help him.”
Firefighters scoured along a creek for the pair but ultimately found them in a fenced-off drainage culvert in a canal which flows through the area.
A department spokesman, Captain Greg Pixley, told the Denver Post last week that due to shifting weather and temperatures that dropped below freezing at night but were milder during the day, people shouldn’t be on the ice.
He said that “both” Ninomiya and his son were in the water when emergency responders arrived, and “both needed medical treatment.” But the investigation soon zeroed in on Ninomiya as detectives probed whether the 42-year-old was a suspect—collecting clothing and his iPhone as evidence and trying to interview him at the hospital’s emergency department.
Two days after the incident, investigators met Ninomiya and read his Miranda Rights, according to the arrest affidavit. Ninomiya allegedly waived his right to have an attorney present and offered a statement which is blotted out in the affidavit.
According to the arrest affidavit, the boy’s mother told a detective that Ninomiya took their son “for an adventure” that day and sent her two photos of the pair hiking about an hour after they set out.
But she said she had grown increasingly worried as darkness fell and her calls went unanswered. The pair had “never” returned home so late from an outing before, she told police. Soon she got a call from the Children’s Hospital telling her that her son was in the intensive care unit.
Ninomiya’s wife of eight years said that prior to the incident she had “no concerns” about sending the boy off with his dad and wouldn’t have let them leave if she thought that he might hurt the kid.
On Wednesday, Denver Police said they were looking for witnesses who might have seen the pair at the time of the incident, adding that detectives were “investigating the circumstances of how the boy suffered life-threatening injuries.”
The Denver Police Department declined to provide further details or offer comment about the investigation.
When reached by The Daily Beast on Thursday, a spokesperson for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, Carolyn Tyler, said it takes about three business days for the district attorney to decide whether it will fille a case with the courts, and that the office did not have information regarding Ninomiya’s lawyer.