Family in Coquille mourning death of 10-month-old infant, suspect arrested

COQUILLE, Ore. – On Monday, Coos County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of an infant who was not breathing normally.

The child was found to have a skull fracture and bleeding in the brain, resulting in what medical personnel are calling “abusive head trauma.”

The infant, Owen Nichols, later died on Tuesday night and the babysitter has been arrested.

The parents, Joe and Mandy Nichols are teachers at Coquille Valley Elementary.

A GoFundMe was set up to help pay for the medical costs.

The goal was to raise $20,000.

But as of Friday, they have raised just over $31,000.

Many local businesses in Coquille have also stepped up and donated to the GoFundMe as well.

Police said, after noticing the suspicious nature of the injuries, they immediately launched an investigation.

27-year-old Hayley Reanne Steele, who was hired by the Nichols to provide daycare for Owen, was arrested Thursday morning.

She is charged with manslaughter, assault, and criminal mistreatment all in the first degree.

The Coos County Sheriff’s Office has handed over the case to the District Attorney’s office.

They are asking anyone with information about this case to call CCSO.

A representative for the family said they are grateful for all the support they’ve received from the community.

NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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