A father who was rescued along with his 5-year-old son from a fenced-off drainage culvert in southeast Denver has been arrested on suspicion of multiple felonies including attempted first-degree murder.
Michael Ninomiya, 42, was arrested Wednesday, one week after he and his son were rescued by emergency responders in southeast Denver, according to the Denver Police Department.
Ninomiya is also being investigated on suspicion of attempt to commit child abuse knowing and reckless to cause death, and attempted child abuse knowing and reckless causing serious bodily injury, according to an arrest affidavit in the case.
The pair were taken to local hospitals last week after being rescued by emergency responders with the Denver Fire Department. The boy remains in critical condition, police said on Wednesday.
Ninomiya called 911 at about 4:15 p.m. on Jan. 12 seeking help but was unable to give a clear location of where they were in the water, according to the affidavit.
Firefighters searched last week along Cherry Creek but found the pair in a fenced-off drainage culvert in the High Line Canal, near South Boston Street and East Cornell Avenue near Hentzell Park. Both Cherry Creek and the High Line Canal flow through the area.
The boy’s mother told an investigator that Ninomiya took the child out the day of the incident and pair was going out on an “adventure,” as they’ve done in the past, mostly hiking, according to the heavily-redacted affidavit. Ninomiya sent two photos of the outing that afternoon, but then the boy’s mother couldn’t reach him by cellphone late in the afternoon as dusk approached and she began to worry. She soon got a call from Children’s Hospital with a report that her son was in the Intensive Care Unit.
The couple have been together for nine years and married for eight years, according to the affidavit. Ninomiya’s wife told an investigator that she had no concerns for the boy’s safety when the pair left on the outing and that “she never would have let them leave” if she thought that Ninomiya would hurt their son.
Ninomiya was interviewed by police at Swedish Medical Center on the day of the incident and his clothing and iPhone were seized as evidence, the affidavit said. On Thursday, Jan. 14, an investigator contacted Ninomiya at his residence where the suspect was advised of his Miranda rights before giving a statement, which is redacted from the affidavit.
An investigation is ongoing. The Denver District Attorney’s Office will make a final determination on what charges, if any, will be filed in the case.
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