Mother of slain infant: 'She never stopped smiling'

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- The mother of a Kitsap County infant who police say was shaken to death by her father says the little girl was able to leave behind the gift of life.

Little Natalie is gone, but her heart and kidneys saved the lives of three other babies.

"She was fighting for that other kid," said Natalie's mom, Kayla DesRochers.

Police and prosecutors believe Natalie's father, Hector Francisco Saavedra Ruiz, killed the infant. Saavedra Ruiz told detectives Natalie was crying but became quiet as the two drove to the restaurant where he worked, according to court documents.

Saavedra Ruiz said he thought his daughter was sleeping, but later realized she wasn't breathing. He said "the baby gasped," and he panicked and drove back to his apartment, where a neighbor called 911.

The doctors who later treated Natalie said her injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

Doctors later discovered the girl had a fractured rib, hemorrhaging at the back of her head and bruising in the lower abdominal area. The baby also had a perforated colon caused by blunt force trauma, according to the sheriff's department.

DesRochers said she never imagined Saavedra Ruiz would hurt his own daughter when she agreed to let him watch the child last week.

"I eventually gave in and he left and he came back an hour later and she was gone," she said.

DesRochers said Saavedra Ruiz abused her, but she kept coming back to him. She admits the two smoked crystal meth with Natalie in the next room and she owns up to some fault in her daughter's death.

"My poor decisions did lead to this, and I know that," she said.

Saavedra Ruiz was arrested Monday and booked into jail for investigation of second degree murder. His bail was set at $1 million.