WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. -- A registered sex offender is facing murder charges for killing his girlfriend's 10-month-old son.
Ryan Hicks, 24, is being held on $1.1 million bond in the Wautaga County Jail. Hicks is also accused of seriously injuring his girlfriend's 3-year-old son and having a Facebook account, which is illegal for registered sex offenders.
"It's not fair, he was just a baby he just started his life out and it's not fair he had to go through all of that," said the boy's mother Rebecca, who did not want to reveal her last name. "It's not fair that he didn't get to play sports, go to high school get married, have children, it's not fair," she cried.
Medic responded to Rebecca's Ray Brown Road home in Boone on Wednesday morning after receiving a 911 call that an infant was unresponsive. Rebecca said she was at work and left her boys in Hicks' care, which had become their normal routine since he moved in several months ago. Rebecca says the house phone wasn't working, but Hicks messaged a friend on Facebook to call her to let her know her son was in trouble. She says she rushed home to find her baby not breathing.
"The medics came and they were trying so hard to get his heart to start beating, they couldn't get it," she cried.
Rebecca says she has known Hicks for years and that he had been great with her children.
"Even during bath time, he'd help me with them," she said. "We'd dress them together, I never had the thought or thinking that he would hurt my kids," Rebecca explained.
She says though she knew Hicks for years, she was not aware of his status on the sex offender's registry. Hicks was convicted of sex assault for a 2011 incident involving a 14-year-old girl when he was 18. According to the sex offender's registry, his last known address was in Burke County.
"He was not in compliance with Watauga County," said Captain DeeDee Rominger with the Watauga County Sheriff's Department. "Here in Watauga County, we actually check our sex offenders every three months, so that is four times a year," she said.
"But that's the one's that we know have registered with us, but when you don't know they are here in the county from another county, without the help of our community partners sometimes it is difficult to realize we have unregistered sex offenders in the county," Capt. Rominger explained.
Capt. Rominger says her office is waiting on the medical examiner's report to figure out how the child died. She would not reveal the nature of the injuries to the 10-month-old or his 3-year-old brother. However, the older boy is expected to be okay.
Rebecca says she just wants the truth about what happened after she left her sons with Hicks.
"He told me he fell off the bed, then it changed then he told me he dropped him, but it's still not believable because the wounds he got were terrible looking," she said. "I just want him to take responsibility and admit what he did was wrong," she declared.
Rebecca did not want to release the names of her children, however, she says funeral services for her son will be open to the public. Services will be held for the 10-month-old on Sunday at the Hampton Funeral Home Chapel.
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