WARNING: This story contains graphic information that may not be suitable for all audiences. Reader discretion is advised. This story was originally published by Cap City News.
CHEYENNE — Disturbing details have been released in the case against Wyatt Lamb who is accused of murdering 2-year-old Athian Rivera this past February in Cheyenne.
In March, the Cheyenne Police Department confirmed they had arrested a 27-year-old man on unrelated charges in connection to the murder of 2-year old Athian Rivera, whose body was found in a nearby dumpster in February.
The suspect was later identified by Cheyenne PD as Lamb. Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove announced that charges were filed against Lamb in the death of the toddler on Monday.
“I have filed charges against Wyatt Dean Lamb for multiple counts of child abuse and one count of felony murder. I commend the Cheyenne Police Department, the Laramie County Coroner, and the Wyoming State Crime Lab for their collective efforts in this case,” Manlove stated in her announcement on Monday.
The graphic nine-page affidavit of probable cause obtained from the Laramie County Circuit Court reveals how the investigation into the death of Rivera led authorities to charge Lamb with Murder in the First Degree as well as ten counts of felony Child Abuse.
According to the affidavit, at approximately 1:02 pm on February 19, 2021, the Laramie County Joint Communication Center received a 911 call from the mother of Athian Rivera who reported that the 2-year-old was missing.
Soon after, officers with the Cheyenne Police Department were dispatched to the scene to investigate Rivera’s disappearance.
Detectives say that they made contact with the child’s mother when they arrived on scene. Rivera’s mother stated that their apartment was on the second floor of the complex and that she did not believe that her son was wearing shoes at the time.
The mother reportedly said that she did not know how Athian could have left on his own, as he had trouble walking down stairs.
Court documents reveal that at around 3:00 pm detectives located Rivera’s deceased body inside of a trash dumpster that was located outside of the front entrance of the the apartment complex.
Authorities say that Rivera’s body was wrapped in a blue and white fitted sheet and a blanket that was inside of five black plastic trash bags. It was noted by investigators that the child’s body was still warm at the time it was discovered.
The affidavit reports that Laramie County Corner Rebecca Reid took custody of Rivera’s body a short time later. The corner reports that they also observed Rivera’s body to still be warm. Reid believed the time of death was between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm on Feb. 19, according to court papers.
Detectives say they spoke to Rivera’s mother on Feb. 19th, 21st and 22nd regarding the circumstances surrounding Athian’s death.
Rivera’s mother reportedly told authorities that she lived in the apartment with Athian, two other children, and Lamb, whom she described as “her boyfriend.” She stated that Lamb had moved in with her family in August of 2020.
The mother stated Athian was healthy on Feb. 18. She stated that she observed nothing out of ordinary with her son and that “his condition was normal.”
The affidavit goes on to say Rivera’s mother told detectives she had gone to work at 5:30 pm on Feb. 18, and that her shift ended at 3:30 am, Feb. 19. She went on to say that Lamb was the sole caregiver for the children while she was at work.
According to court documents, the mother advised that while she was at work she received multiple messages via SnapChat from Lamb. She stated that everything seemed normal, other than Lamb reported Athian had been coughing a lot and had vomited. Rivera’s mother said that she told Lamb that if Athian wasn’t feeling better in the morning she would take him to the doctor.
Investigators say they were able to confirm through her time card as well through video surveillance that Rivera’s mother had worked during the time she had reported.
Rivera’s mother told police that she returned home from work at approximately 3:30 am on the morning of Feb. 19. She informed detectives that all of her children often slept in the same bed and when she went to check on the children, claimed Lamb turned out the hallway lights outside of the bedroom, making it hard to see.
Rivera’s mother reportedly asked Lamb what he was doing and to turn the lights back on, which he did. She told detectives that afterwards one of her other children began to stir so she left the room as not wake them up.
The affidavit reveals that Rivera’s mother told investigators that on the morning of Feb. 19, Lamb had asked if the home had any clean sheets. Lamb allegedly told Rivera’s mother that he wanted to change the sheets on the children’s bed because of Athian vomiting earlier.
The mother told authorities that she believed Lamb was “being nicer than usual” on the morning of the 19th.
Court documents go on to report that Rivera’s mother and Lamb left to the apartment to take one of the other children to school. The mother stated that Lamb was concerned about tardiness, so he wanted her to drive them to school.
“She stated that this was out of the ordinary and on previous occasions when the child was running late for school, Lamb would still walk her there since it is only a short distance,” the affidavit goes on to say.
Police officials report that surveillance videos show Rivera’s mother and Lamb both in a vehicle, dropping off a child at school.
The mother says that they were only gone a short time and returned back to the apartment at around 8:40 am on the 19th.
The affidavit goes on to say that the mother later told police that in hindsight it appeared as if Lamb was trying to keep her from checking in on Athian.
Rivera’s mother went on to tell detectives that she hadn’t seen Athian yet that morning and she believed he was still sleeping. She stated that she went back to sleep at around 9:00 am.
The affidavit states that Lamb told Rivera’s mother that he was going to do some chores. At some point she recalled hearing Lamb opening up trash bags while she was lying in bed. She told investigators that the trash bags they used in the apartment were ones she had taken from her employer and that they were stored in the kitchen cabinet.
Rivera’s mother reports that she was woken up at around 12:15 pm by Lamb, who said that Athian was missing and the apartment door was open. She observed the front door to be “barley open,” and then began to search the apartment for the child.
She told investigators that she then began to search the outside area of the apartment complex with the help of other people.
Police say they spoke with individuals who helped Rivera’s mother in her search. The witnesses offered that they observed Lamb was acting “odd” as the situation unfolded.
One witness reportedly described Lamb’s behavior as not seeming to be “worried or flustered” by the disappearance of the toddler.
Court documents say that Rivera’s mother called 911 dispatch at around 1:02 pm. She alleged that Lamb left once she made the call, because he had an outstanding warrant.
Police say that Lamb returned to the apartment at around 1:30 pm, during an interview with Rivera’s mother. Lamb indicated to detectives that he lived at a different residence with a roommate and confirmed that Rivera’s mother was his girlfriend.
The affidavit reveals that Lamb detailed to investigators his account of the previous day.
Lamb told detectives that he had put Athian to bed at around 8:00 on the evening of Feb. 18. Lamb stated that he observed Athian to vomit once during the night, and it concerned him enough to call the child’s mother to report it.
Court documents say that Lamb told authorities he checked in on Athian between 10-10:30 pm and that he was still sleeping. He told investigators that he returned to his residence at around 3:40 am in the morning of Feb. 19, when Rivera’s mother returned from work.
According to the affidavit, Lamb offered different details to what transpired during the morning. He stated that he had spent his entire morning at his residence and that he had been texting with Rivera’s mother during that time. Lamb went on to tell investigators that he fell asleep and was woken at 11:20 or 11:40 am, when Rivera’s mother called to tell him that Athian was missing.
Lamb said that his roommate was not home so he was forced to call a taxi to get a ride to Rivera’s apartment. He told detectives he had gotten a ride from “Classy Taxi” to get to the apartment.
While Lamb was still at the apartment being interviewed, detectives noted that he was looking outside of the window toward the dumpster where the body of Athian had been discovered.
“A short time later, Lamb appeared to faint and was transported to Cheyenne Medical Regional Center by ambulance,” the affidavit reports.
Authorities say that further investigation revealed that Lamb had moved out of the residence he claimed to be living in in August of 2020. Court documents state that detectives could not find a “Classy Taxi” in town. They also reported calling multiple taxi services in town who said they had not provided any transportation on Feb. 19 to Rivera’s apartment complex.
Police state that on Feb. 19, they secured the trash dumpster where Rivera’s body was discovered. They sealed the lids and had it transported to the Cheyenne Police Department. On the evening of the 19th, investigators obtained and executed a search warrant on Rivera’s apartment.
Cheyenne PD Investigation
During the search, investigators say they located and seized a roll of black plastic trash bags that were the same color and had “a similar heavy plastic construction as the bags Athian was found in.”
Detectives go on to say they also located and seized a flat blue and white bed sheet that appeared to have the same color and pattern as the fitted sheet that the child was found wrapped in.
On Feb. 20, detectives conducted a search of the trash dumpster where Rivera was located. The affidavit says they found black trash bags that were similar to the one that Athian was covered in. They said that the trash bags were also similar to the ones found inside of the kitchen of the apartment.
An autopsy of the child was also conducted on Feb. 20, by a forensic pathologist at the Laramie County Coroner’s Office.
“Based on upon the history and autopsy findings it is my opinion that Athian Rivera. a 2-year-old Hispanic male, died of cerebral edema herniation due to blunt force trauma or hypoxic brain injury, or a combination of both,” the forensic pathologist wrote.
The pathologist also reported observing a pattern of burn injuries to the child’s groin, by a torch reportedly found at the scene.
“The manner of death is homicide.” the pathologist continued.
The affidavit goes on to report in horrific detail a list of injuries medical experts located across Rivera’s body. Examiners observed multiple abrasions and contusions on the head, chest, abdomen, and back of Rivera as well as damage to his brain.
“There are scattered blunt force injuries over much of his body,” the examiner wrote.
According to investigators, forensic pathologists also located “non-accidental” thermal injuries to Rivera on and around his genitals. Examiners say they observed multiple indications of a heat source being applied to Rivera’s skin across the lower part of his body.
During a second search of Rivera’s apartment on Feb. 20, detectives say they found and seized a butane torch. Law enforcement stated that the torch appeared to be functional at the time they seized it. They alleged that the size and shape of the burners of the torch appeared very similar to the burns on Rivera.
Examiners advised that they believed the burns located on the child’s body happened near or at the time of death. They also concluded that they located evidence that Athian had either been strangled or suffocated.
The affidavit reveals that on May 7, 2021, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation issued a forensic report on the case. The report indicates that testing showed the presence of the DNA profiles of both Rivera and Lamb in the diaper that Athian was wearing at the time of the autopsy. Forensic analysis also indicated that Lamb’s fingerprints were found on multiple trash bags that contained the body of Rivera, according to court papers.
Lamb made his initial appearance in Laramie County Circuit Court on June 29, 2021 where he was read a felony charge of Murder in The First Degree as well as 10 counts of felony Child Abuse.
According to Wyoming statutes, if convicted of First Degree Murder, Lamb could face the death penalty or life in prison. Each count of Child Abuse carries with it a 10-year maximum sentence.
Lamb was give a one-million dollar bond. His preliminary hearing is set for August, 2021.