KITSAP COUNTY, Wash. -- A central Kitsap County mother who allegedly admitted to strangling her son to death on Halloween after praying about it will be charged with first-degree murder.
The charges against Amber James, 47, were amended Friday from second-degree murder.
James' 9-year-old boy, Ryan Rosales, died of “obvious homicidal violence.” James was arrested Tuesday, Kitsap County sheriff’s deputy Scott Wilson said.
Court documents say Ryan's mother had called 911 earlier in the week complaining she thought she was being followed by people in cars and airplanes.
The documents also said Ryan's father placed another call to 911 Tuesday morning telling dispatchers he discovered his son's lips were blue and had red spots all over his face.
Here's the account of what happened according to court documents obtained by Q13 News:
Ryan Rosales' father was taking a shower around 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday. When he got out, he smelled gas.
The father went into the kitchen and found all four burners on the stove were on with the caps taken off. He confronted James, who denied turning on the gas. He noticed scratches on her neck.
The father then opened the windows of the home to vent the gas. He went to check on his son and give him a kiss, and noticed the boy was cold to the touch and unresponsive. The father called 911 and began CPR.
Paramedics were unable to revive the boy, and he died at the scene. Medics thought something was suspicious and deputies were called to the home in a rural area outside Silverdale near Wildcat Lake.
"This was a situation that needed to be turned over to detectives because there was just something about the situation that did not look right," said Wilson.
James was detained and taken to the sheriff's office in Port Orchard for questioning. Detectives said she had cloves of garlic, two lighters and a small vial of "holy water" at the time. She told the detective she used the water to "say a prayer for my baby."
Detectives said there were writings on the wall including the words: "Harvest," "Spaywar," "Greed kills," "sex trade," "God is coming," "No pedo," and "Michael=Devil." James told detectives she had been watching conspiracy videos on YouTube related to politics and chemtrails, and thought she was being followed.
Investigators decided to take her to a nearby hospital for a mental evaluation and treatment of injuries to her neck.
"While at the hospital and unsolicited by Deputy Trout, Amber told Deputy Trout that she needed to save her son from people that were after us, needed to protect him. She had described (the boy) as the best kid in the world. She stated she had prayed, thought about it, cried and then put her hands around his throat so he couldn't breathe any longer. Amber then asked Deputy Trout, how do I explain to someone why I just ... killed my kid? What is a good explanation of that? I killed my ... kid. Deputy Trout state Amber did not cry or have any tears."
James told a mental health worker that she received the red mark on her left hand when her son fought back.
Court documents also say James had taken medication for anxiety but she didn't have any diagnosis for other mental health disorders.
The 47-year-old mother is being held in Kitsap County Jail. Bail was initially set at $1 million. James made her first court appearance Wednesday afternoon, her next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.
Tragedies like these leave many wondering, how did this happen? Didn’t anyone notice this behavior? And why didn’t anyone intervene or ask for help?
A group of local health professionals is taking a proactive approach to the topic of mental illness by teaching people how to identify and respond to those struggling.
CHI Franciscan Health is spearheading the eight-hour class, hoping to make it as commonplace in as CPR training.
That’s why medical professionals are really pushing everyone, not just first responders, to educate themselves on how to step in before it’s too late.
“Most mental illnesses, if you can catch them early before things get bad, they can absolutely be helped. So this is really critical and can have a huge difference in somebody’s life and can have a huge difference in our community,” says Monet Craton of CHI Franciscan Health.
The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office also has protocols in place for responding to calls involving people who are mentally ill, often times, that is already a crisis situation.