The teenage uncle of a 6-year-old boy with autism has admitted to drowning the child in a bathtub, police said.
First-grader Dayvid Pakko was reported missing Monday, after Andrew Henckel, 19, said he woke from a nap to find his nephew had vanished, according to authorities.
The child’s body was found the next day, inside a dumpster near the family’s home in Washington state’s Snohomish County, the sheriff’s department said.
Henckel had been babysitting the child, who was home sick from school, authorities said. Dayvid’s mother, whom Henckel was visiting, was at work.
After the child’s body was found, Henckel told investigators he had filled a bathtub with water, called the boy over and then held him down in the tub, according to a probable cause affidavit.
He changed Dayvid’s clothes, wrapped his body in a blanket and put it inside a cardboard box, authorities said. He later put the box inside the trash bin. He didn’t give a motive, investigators said.
He is being held at the Snohomish County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail, according to online records. He has been charged with first-degree murder and has not entered a plea.
Henckel’s father said the teen is a “gentle giant” who had never before been in trouble.
"He hasn't had any interactions with the law whatsoever," the father said. "So, this process of bringing him in and interrogating him with his autism, makes me question the validity of anything he said without legal counsel present or a family member present."
His son would not understand the concept of being read his Miranda rights or fully recognize the gravity of being arrested and questioned by authorities, he said.