Neighbors: Man accused of killing baby was excited to be a parent
RYAN HOFFMAN and WILL GRANDBOIS
Post Independent Staff Writers
PARACHUTE — Neighbors of Matthew Ogden, who was arrested Monday in Minnesota on a first-degree murder warrant in the death of his baby daughter, said he had been excited about becoming a parent.
Bill Matthews, a resident of the Cottonwood View apartments for the past four months, said Ogden would regularly stop by for a beer.
“He always told me, ‘This is my time,’” Matthews said.
Ogden, 29, and Phyllis Wyatt, 41, who faces charges of child abuse causing death with criminal negligence, were arrested Monday afternoon in Cass County, Minnesota. Authorities had issued warrants for them Friday in the death of their daughter, 4-week-old Sarah Ogden.
Police arrived at the couple’s apartment on the morning of June 20 to find the infant unresponsive and not breathing. Sarah was pronounced dead later that day at Grand River Hospital in Rifle.
The Garfield County coroner’s office ruled the death a homicide and said Monday it was caused by “multiple blunt force injuries.”
Matthews and other neighbors interviewed Monday at the Cottonwood complex said Ogden told them he was expecting twins, though it was unclear if the couple actually had another child.
Angelica Alvarez said Ogden approached her a few weeks ago trying to sell his marijuana pipes. He told Alvarez that he was expecting twins — a fact she questioned after hearing of Sarah’s death.
“He looked really excited,” Alvarez said, adding that Ogden approached her several times after that first encounter, “as if he didn’t know who we were.”
Alvarez, a mother of four who has lived at Cottonwood for the past two years, said she never met the mother.
When Parachute police issued the warrants for Ogden and Wyatt, they said the couple may have fled to either California or Minnesota.
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office in north-central Minnesota said it got a tip that the couple might be at a home in the Cass Lake area. Cass County authorities, the Leech Lake Tribal Police Department and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrested the pair without incident.
Ninth District Attorney Sherry Caloia said that extradition might begin as soon as Tuesday.
The warrant for Ogden accuses him of first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death and child abuse causing bodily injury.
Back at Cottonwood View, residents were shaken.
“It’s sad,” Alvarez said. “To have something like that makes you think what kind of people are living here.”
Matthews, who described the apartment complex as the type of place where personal belongings can be left outside overnight without fear of theft, said the atmosphere has been tense.
“You just don’t know who is going to snap next,” he said. “It’s been tough.”
Matthews said Ogden and Wyatt stopped by two days after their baby’s death, and the couple did not seem that affected by it.
“Maybe that’s just how people deal with it,” he said.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.