TWIN FALLS — Bail was set at $2 million Tuesday for a Twin Falls mother charged with murdering her 20-month-old daughter.
Amanda J. Dunlap, 22, faces charges of first-degree murder and eight felony counts of injury to a child in Twin Falls County Magistrate Court. She’s being represented by a public defender.
Judge Thomas D. Kershaw Jr. approved a motion from prosecutors to seal the court records from the public and media, ruling that the details of the case were so “highly intimate” that their publication would be “highly objectionable to a reasonable person.”
Authorities have declined to discuss what caused the baby’s death. Asked over the weekend, Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs struggled to find words: “I wouldn’t know how to answer that.”
In a brief statement issued Saturday, police said Dunlap was arrested late Friday in Ada County. Her baby died Oct. 14 in Boise. The girl lived a week in a Boise hospital after being flown from St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center on Oct. 8, when police first began investigating.
According to court records, Dunlap was already facing charges for possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia at the time of the baby’s death.
A preliminary hearing in the murder case is set for Nov. 3.
TWIN FALLS — The father of a baby who died earlier this month is still waiting to get closure while his daughter’s body is held by the Ada County Coroner’s Office and his ex-fiancée sits in the Twin Falls County Jail charged with her murder.
Officials are still not releasing information about how 20-month-old Lyryk Jean Altom died Oct 14. The baby’s mother, Amanda Jean Dunlap, 22, of Twin Falls faces charges of first-degree murder, eight felony counts of injury to a child and one misdemeanor count of injury to a child.
Logan Altom, Lyryk’s father, said he’d never have suspected abuse although he hadn’t seen his daughter in the five weeks prior to her hospitalization.
“It’s really hard to believe that anybody’s capable of doing this,” Altom said. “I really hope she (Dunlap) didn’t do it.”
In response to an inquiry into the cause of Lyryk’s death, the Ada County Coroner’s office said the case is pending and cannot be released.
Lyryk Jean Altom was born Jan. 25, 2016, in Twin Falls. This month, she was flown by helicopter to Boise after police responded to a call for a baby in distress on Oct. 8. Lyryk died about a week later.
Six days after her daughter’s death, Dunlap was arrested on a warrant.
Before her injury, Lyryk was “really really happy all the time,” Altom said. She was also obedient, bringing things or stopping actions when asked.
“She liked Pokemon. She loved Pikachu and Hunter,” he said. “She liked My Little Pony a lot.”
He believes they’d really bonded since right after her birth, while she was in respiratory distress in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Altom and Dunlap had been engaged until she left him earlier this year. Since then, it became difficult to keep in touch with her because of her busy schedule, he said. But he’d never noticed any bruises on their daughter during visits.
Altom said it seemed that Dunlap loved both her children — she’s had joint custody with the father of her son, who was born in 2013, according to court records.
Dunlap was employed at a Twin Falls restaurant prior to her arrest, court documents say.
Altom had visited his daughter frequently, but had stopped while he was dealing with some mental disorders he’d been diagnosed with. After hearing about his daughter’s injuries, he flew to Boise.
Lyryk was kept in a dark room, and a part of her skull was removed to relieve the pressure in her brain, he said.
“The brain injury was the reason she really didn’t make it,” Altom said.
And it’s been hard holding off closure — unable even to make funeral arrangements, he said.
Dunlap was transferred to Twin Falls County Jail from Ada County earlier this week. Her bail was kept at $2 million following an arraignment Tuesday. Judge Thomas D. Kershaw Jr. signed an order to seal court documents on the case from the public and the media.
The Twin Falls mother has a history of misdemeanor crimes dating back to when she was a teenager.
According to court records, she’s been facing charges of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, stemming from a case in Gooding County this summer.
During a Nov. 1, 2014, traffic stop, a police officer discovered marijuana and a pipe in Dunlap’s vehicle. She was sentenced to 16 hours of work detail and fined $200 plus costs and restitution.
And when she was a senior in high school, Dunlap was cited on New Year’s Eve in 2012 for frequenting a place where a controlled substance is used. A charge for consuming alcohol as a minor was dropped and she was fined $352.50.
A post on Altom’s Facebook page with a link to a story about Dunlap’s arrest said, “No I’m not mad. I just want to ask her, ‘Why?’”
Altom added that he felt lost and couldn’t comprehend the situation.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 3.
“If it goes forward, we’ll present evidence at that time,” Prosecuting Attorney Grant Loebs said. “If the public has any additional information, that’s always helpful. We’ll always follow up on it.”
TWIN FALLS — Bumpin Bernie’s, a popular after-hours hangout downtown, needs to control its customers and do more to eliminate rowdiness outside or the city may force the business to close earlier.
Essentially, the city is asking for a little less bumpin’.
The bar, nightclub and hookah lounge at 139 Shoshone St. N. operates until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, but stops serving alcohol at 1 a.m. per state statute. Police say they receive more calls for fights, batteries and disturbances there than at similar bars in town that close at 1:30 a.m.
Police had asked the Planning and Zoning Commission to amend the bar’s special use permit to limit hours to 1:30 a.m. But after hearing testimony on the business’ behalf, the commission decided to table the item and allow Bumpin Bernie’s more time to step up its cleanup efforts and work to address security in the Urban Renewal Agency-owned parking lot behind it.
“You guys got to get control,” chairman Tom Frank said at the public hearing Tuesday. “They’re your customers, whether they go in the building or not. They’re probably using your bathrooms when they’re not out doing something else.”
The issue will come up again before the P&Z at a public hearing Dec. 12.
“Things won’t be so forgiving at that time,” Frank said. “This is kind of your Jesus — pardon that term — meeting, and you guys really need to get a handle on it.”
Bumpin Bernie’s co-owner Burhan Hetemi said the business has already taken action toward improving the situation.
“I took it upon myself to get a ‘No Loitering’ sign,” Hetemi said.
Since installing the sign about seven weeks ago, he said, there have been no incidents outside the bar — and there has never been a fight inside the bar, Hetemi added. But police reports show there have been a few calls for service at the address of the establishment during that time period.
“I’m really skeptical signing is going to change a drunk person’s behavior,” Commissioner Ed Musser said.
Still, the commission was impressed by Hetemi’s willingness to step up and work with law enforcement.
Since Bumpin Bernie’s received its permit for extended hours of operation in 2011, police have responded to the address 283 times — including 88 times for fights or disturbances.
Just in the past year — from Oct. 1, 2016, to Sept. 30, 2017 — there were 108 calls for service at Bumpin Bernie’s.
“About 48 percent of the calls for service occurred in that 1:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. timeframe,” Police Sgt. Kevin Loosli said.
But Tim Stastny, owner of the Slice restaurant nearby, also said the problems are occurring in the URA-owned parking lot. Just last Saturday, his own son was accosted in the parking lot, he said. Stastny has also found blood and vomit on his back door.
“They can’t control it — it’s not their fault,” he said. “You can’t control the maniacs that are coming down there. You never hear of a problem going on inside the bar.”
Artem Petrosyan, an employee who helps manage Bumpin Bernie’s, said his staff call the police when necessary, to make the area safe. And the issues aren’t with the business’ patrons.
“We don’t know who causes the problems,” he said.
Petrosyan also highlighted the business’ role in the community by hosting fundraisers and a venue for local artists to perform.
But the commission seemed to agree that having an establishment open past 1:30 a.m. would by nature attract more people to that area.
“They’re causing it indirectly,” Commissioner Gerardo Munoz said.
Yet the commission understood the need for such a business to cater to the 21-to-40-year-olds who stay up at that time of night.
“My greatest fear is if we keep shutting down at 1:30, our hopes of developing the downtown the way we want it suffers,” Commissioner Kevin Grey said. “It really does.
“… My hat’s off to the owner of this establishment for making those phone calls, and I think it’s unfortunate that that’s counted against them.”
After another downtown business owner complained of broken beer bottles and public urination, commissioners discussed that Bumpin Bernie’s could do more to help clean up. Furthermore, it could discuss the possibility with the URA of lighting that parking lot.
“I think there’s a bigger issue that the city or the owner of the parking lot need to address to make that place safe,” Commissioner Danielle Dawson said.
After the meeting, Bumpin Bernie’s employees spoke to law enforcement and a commissioner, and they seemed eager to pursue more lighting and better communication.
If the conditions don’t improve, Hetemi could face a cut to his hours that would be detrimental to his business. Most customers arrive after 12:45 a.m., he said.
“Most people just think we’re open 1 to 3,” Hetemi said.
It’s an image he has been trying to move away from over the past couple of years. Bumpin Bernie’s serves European food from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It opens again from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; and 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
But since the establishment began operating a hookah lounge in March, Hetemi has noticed more police patrols happening and feels that his business is being targeted.
“I try my best to work with them,” he said.
Bumpin Bernie’s is the only establishment in the area open past 1:30 a.m.
“There’s never been a complaint about the bar, never a written note, never a phone call from a neighbor,” Petrosyan said.
MIDDLETON — The Bliss High School boys soccer team played well enough to win a state championship, but it wasn’t the Bears’ day.
Bliss fell to Weiser 2-1 in Saturday’s rain-soaked 3A state title game. An injury and a bunch of unlucky breaks prevented the Bears (16-3) from earning their first state-sanctioned championship in program history.
“I still think after that game that we were the better team,” Bliss coach Dustin Henkelmann said. “We created so many more chances. Weiser just did better with the chances they had.”
Henkelmann made a significant change going into the state tournament. Senior midfielder Armando Cordoba, who led the Bears with 26 goals on the season, was moved to defense in hopes of fortifying the back line early in each game.
Cordoba’s teammates had no trouble picking up the goal-scoring slack.
Junior Steven Rubio came into Saturday’s game with five goals in two state tournament games. He netted his first goal in a 2-1 win over previously undefeated Sugar-Salem on Thursday, and he scored four in Friday’s 5-1 semifinal win over Snake River.
Rubio took just 90 seconds on Saturday to score his sixth goal, which was set up by a perfect through ball.
One minute later, Rubio again beat the defense on a through ball and had just the goalkeeper to beat, but freshman Dylan Miranda was there to make the save. Bliss senior Fernando Marez was there for the rebound, but Miranda stopped that, as well.
Bliss had several more good looks in the first half, most notably the 17th minute. Once again, Miranda stopped a Rubio shot and a Marez attempt on a rebound.
Weiser responded when senior Cristian Sanchez scored. A game that could have been 3-1 was tied up.
In the 33rd minute, Rubio had another good look on a through ball, but he collided with Miranda near the edge of the box. Both players stayed down for a couple minutes but got up under their own power. Miranda stayed in the game, and Rubio exited.
Rubio’s head hit Miranda on the play, and the collision left Rubio with a bump on his forehead. He was administered by Idaho High School Activities Association officials at halftime, and he underwent concussion tests.
Rubio missed the rest of the game.
“Was not devastated because we had a deep bench,” Henkelmann said. “I was very sad for him that he couldn’t finish out the game. I think that’s something guys are gonna remember when they look back on this game.”
Sanchez scored again in the 51st minute, and Henkelmann moved Cordoba up to forward. The Bears needed a goal, and their star striker was sitting on the bench in pants and a sweatshirt.
In the 62nd minute, Cordoba and Miranda collided in the box, which netted a penalty kick for Bliss. Cordoba took the kick and fired up the middle. Miranda stayed put. The ball rolled away, and Miranda was able to clear it before Cordoba could attempt another shot.
Bliss had a few chances after that, including a great look on a corner kick in the 75th minute. Cordoba lined up the kick and found sophomore Kevin Tellez, who lined up a header. The ball bounced off the top of the crossbar.
Tellez’s near miss was the last good chance Bliss had in the game.
“As little kids, we’ve always dreamed of winning state,” Cordoba said. “We had the chance, but it just couldn’t happen.”
Bliss is a co-op with players from Bliss, Glenns Ferry, Hagerman and Shoshone high schools. The Bears added players and Henkelmann, an English teacher, from Shoshone last season. Cordoba is one of the Shoshone players, and he was arguably Bliss’ top player this season.
Henkelmann handed the second-place trophy to Cordoba after the game. “It’s yours,” he told him.
“They never had the chance to play high school soccer. The co-op gave them that chance,” a tearful Henkelmann said of his players. “To get this far and not make it, it’s hard on all of them.”