A 37-year-old Washington man has been accused of second-degree murder in the death last week of his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter, PEOPLE confirms.
Officers were called to an apartment building in Vancouver on Friday afternoon, after receiving reports about an unconscious girl, identified as Hartley Anderson.
Local TV station KOIN spoke to Hartley’s relatives, who said her fifth birthday was two weeks ago.
The girl’s accused killer, Ryan Burge, is additionally charged with first-degree assault of a child. He will be asked to enter his plea when he appears in court later Monday afternoon.
He does not have an attorney on record who could comment on his behalf.
Police saye that Burge allegedly told investigators that on the day of her death, he was watching Hartley so that her mom could go to work, police tell PEOPLE.
He allegedly claimed that Hartley hurt herself during a temper tantrum.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
She showed obvious signs of head trauma, police tell PEOPLE, and was transported Friday to a hospital in nearby Portland, Oregon, where she was pronounced dead.
Hartley’s aunt and uncle Whitney and TJ Luchau said she was a lover of dogs, according to KOIN.
“She tries to wrap my dog in blankets because she thinks they are cold,” Whitney explained to the station. “She’s genuinely a sincere, caring kid.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been established to pay for Hartley’s funeral.
Hartley’s uncle told KOIN that her death had devastated her mother and big brothers.
“ can’t fathom what would cause somebody to hurt such a sweet little girl like that and to take her away from everybody,” he said.