Parents accused in death of newborn daughter face judge

MONTESANO, Wash. -- Tears flowed during a preliminary court hearing Monday for a young mother and father accused in the death of their newborn daughter.

Brittany Taylor, 21, and her 21-year-old boyfriend Patrick Parnel are being held for investigation of first degree manslaughter and assault but have not yet been formally charged.

The baby's tiny body was discovered in the brush along Fisher Avenue in Ocean Shores on Friday by a woman who was out walking her dogs. She found the baby after she noticed a bloody washcloth hanging from a nearby tree branch and went to investigate.

The coroner ruled Sunday the baby died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Acting on citizen tips, police identified the child's 21-year-old birth mother and her boyfriend the next day and brought them in for questioning.

Their families can't believe it.

"He wasn't raised that way," said Parnel's father, Patrick D. Parnel. "He's a good kid. I don't know what happened."

Court documents say the couple didn't want anyone to know of the birth, so they went to an Ocean Shores motel last Wednesday. She gave birth over the toilet, and Parnel reportedly told detectives he dropped the baby in the toilet and cut the back of the baby's head with scissors.

After the baby died, Parnel took the body to a wooded area a few miles away and covered it in leaves, prosecutors said.

The next day the couple went for a walk on the beach and smoked marijuana before going to Taylor's mother's house, court records show.

The couple stayed another night at the motel. They checked out on Friday morning, went to a liquor store and then went home.

The place where the infant was found is now marked by a few flowers and has a search warrant tied to a tree.

"Everybody is just sick," said Ocean Shores resident Fred Winge. "Wonder why they couldn't at least drop it off at the fire station or anywhere?"

It can't be just anywhere, but the state's Save Haven law allows for newborns to be dropped off at staffed fire stations or hospitals -- no questions asked. The fire station is right along the route from the motel to the place where the baby was found.

"And the baby could have gone to a loving home where it could have led a happy life and someone could have loved it," said Aria Watson.

Both parents will be back in court Wednesday to face possible charges of assault and manslaughter.