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Michigan man handed 25 to 50-year prison sentence for killing 21-month-old girl in anger while bathing toddler

An autopsy named the cause of Skylar’s death as “drowning” with “multiple head injuries as possible contributing factors,” after Damian Garrett hit the child on her back causing her to hit the faucet and then left
Damian Garrett (Midland County  Sheriff Office)
Damian Garrett (Midland County Sheriff Office)

A 24-year-old August, Michigan, man, Damian Garrett, who was charged with the death of a 21-month-old toddler has been sentenced to 25 to 50 years, according to the reports by PEOPLE. The accused reportedly pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder, related to the killing of his girlfriend’s daughter Skylar Pappel. 

In December 2019, he was charged with the death of a toddler which took place on September 16. The case was being headlined by Midland County Prosecuting Attorney J. Dee Brooks. During the hearing on Friday, August 4, Garrett pleaded guilty to the murder, with already having served 352 days in jails, according to Brooks’ statement to PEOPLE. As a part of the plea deal, his previous charges of first-degree murder and child endangerment were reportedly dismissed. 

The incident occurred last year when Garrett was bathing his then girlfriend’s toddler Skylar. According to the prosecution, the child became fussy during the bath and started to cry. Explaining Garrett’s reaction to it, Brooks said, “He got angry and smacked her hard on the back. He says she fell forward and hit her face on the faucet for the bathtub, and she did have an injury to her mouth and lip area that was consistent with that.”

Due to the impact, the child reportedly fell face forward into the water, while Garrette stepped away for “five to six minutes” from the bathroom. The toddler was underwater in the same position upon his return, after which he called for help. 

An affidavit from Garrett’s arraignment notes that Midland County Central Dispatch received an emergency call for medical assistance, just after 3 pm, at Northwind Forest Apartments. According to Midland Daily News, the Northwind Forest maintenance manager was helping perform CPR on the toddler. 

An autopsy was conducted by Dr. Kanu Virani of the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Officer, who named the cause of Skylar’s death as “drowning” with “multiple head injuries as possible contributing factors.” She reportedly determined the toddler’s death be a homicide. 

While the toddler’s mother had previously written a letter to the court, neither she nor the child’s father gave the victim impact statements, according to Brooks told in a statement, “Garrett was somewhat emotional and kind of apologized."

"The judge was pretty stern with him. The judge made reference to a man shouldn’t beat children. These were pretty awful circumstances, obviously.” Brooks said.
“It’s extremely sad and unfortunate,” the attorney continued. “The message is to be careful about who you leave your children with, and make sure they are experienced and have the ability to deal with children and not act out in anger that can have horrific consequences,” he added further. 

He had told in his previous statement to the website, “She was fussy or resisting when he was trying to wash her hair. He got angry and hit her, and she fell and hit her face on the faucet, then fell down face-first into the water.” he further stated that Garrett returned to the bathroom after “realizing there was a high degree of likelihood she would drown if he left her that way."