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Trial set for woman who allegedly used cold showers to punish child, which ended in hypothermia

Crime Watch

IDAHO FALLS – A jury trial is set for a woman who is accused of forcing a 7-year-old child to take a cold shower until he experienced hypothermia.

Ashlynn Richardson Bryner, 25, will stand trial on Aug. 15, after she was charged with felony injury to a child in September 2021.

According to court documents, Bryner forced a 7-year-old child into the cold shower as a punishment. It is unclear exactly when the authorities were alerted, but the child was taken by ambulance to EIRMC, which is when the Idaho Falls Police Department became involved.

EMS personnel who initially responded to the Idaho Falls home discovered that the child had a body temperature of 71.8 degrees, which is classified as “profound hypothermia”.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the child was taken to the pediatric intensive care unit.

RELATED | Police say woman used cold showers to punish boy who suffered hypothermia

The medical staff at EIRMC reportedly believed the child had been a victim of abuse. They also learned that the child had a long-term terminal illness. That illness causes the child to have limited verbal abilities and requires them to need constant supervision due to struggles to walk on their own and eat without choking.

Police reports show EIRMC staff found multiple bruises on the child’s forehead and shoulder and a swollen lip.

When being interviewed by investigators, Bryner reportedly told police multiple versions of what happened. She stated she regularly used cold showers as a punishment when the child would wet his bed, and told police that they had multiple bed-wetting accidents that day, which caused her to be more upset than ever before.

During one account Bryner said the shower was hot the entire time, but then in other versions, she talked about leaving the child in the chilling water. She also said she found the child cold, stiff and unconscious inside the shower, but later said the child was fine in the shower, and become cold and stiff afterward.

According to court documents, a neighbor told police that when she woke up that morning, she heard the sound of running water and loud screaming from the child and Bryner, yelling “stop it”.

The neighbor said that they went downstairs to the apartment below because the child “did not sound OK.” The woman estimated the shower had been going for about 15 to 20 minutes. The neighbor talked to Bryner and said she could hear the child whimpering in the bathroom.

Days before this incident, Bryner and her wife were both charged with misdemeanor domestic battery after police were called to their home and found both women with marks on their bodies. According to court records, both women gave conflicting accounts of what happened, and the charges were ultimately dropped because of a lack of evidence.

Bryner appeared in court in November 2021, where her bail was set to $7,500. She was issued a no-contact order for the victim in December and was released to pre-trial services in January. Her jury trial was originally set for July 11 but it was pushed to Aug. 15.

Though Bryner has been charged with these crimes, it does not necessarily mean she committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.

If convicted, Bryner could face up to 10 years in prison.

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