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Autopsy reveals cause of death of Great Falls infant

Whisper Rayne Hawkbear makes court appearance (Monday, April 24, 2023)
Posted at 2:32 PM, Apr 25, 2023

The Cascade County Sheriff/Coroner on Tuesday identified Ezekiel Contreras as the two-month old baby that was killed in Great Falls on Friday, April 21, 2023.

Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said an autopsy on Monday determined the cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries, and the manner of death was determined to be a homicide.

He added: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this heinous crime and all those affected by this."

Whisper Rayne Hawkbear, 20 years old, was charged on Monday with killing baby Ezekiel, and also seriously injuring her toddler daughter, at an apartment in the Rockcress Commons complex.

Suspect faces charge of deliberate homicide of an infant in Great Falls

Court documents released on Monday state that Hawkbear called police at about 2:30 a.m. on Friday "in a panic," but calmed down and canceled the call. She called again at 4:15 a.m. asking for help.

When police officers arrived, Hawkbear immediately handed baby Ezekiel to an officer; the baby reportedly had blood on his face.

As an officer performed CPR on the infant, according to the charging documents, Hawkbear said, "I just beat him up for like five seconds, he's dead, isn't he?"

Police then found Hawkbear's two-year old daughter crying in a bedroom with blood on her face; court documents state that her nose "was nearly cut off" and will have permanent scarring. Responding medical personnel also noted a burn on one leg and a possible head injury.

Rockcress Commons
Rockcress Commons

Officers saw blood on the carpet and bed and a broken mirror, and also what appeared to be drug paraphernalia.

Baby Ezekiel was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:17 a.m.

During an interview at the Great Falls Police Department, court documents state that Hawkbear initially called at about 2:30 a.m. because she has PTSD and anxiety, and her children would not stop crying and she wanted to sleep.

Whisper Rayne Hawkbear makes court appearance (Monday, April 24, 2023)
Whisper Rayne Hawkbear makes court appearance (Monday, April 24, 2023)

Police say she told them that she threw the infant against a wall and stomped on his head, and that she "slammed" the toddler into a mirror "many times."

Hawkbear told police the children stopped crying and she was able to go to sleep. When she woke up at about 4:15 a.m., she saw the infant and called 911.

As officers conducted the investigation, they learned that the alleged birth father of the children, who is out of state, had requested a welfare check of the children on April 19, claiming that Whisper was using drugs and he was concerned about her ability to care for the kids.

At this point, we do not know if a welfare check was conducted.

Hawkbear was formally charged on Monday with deliberate homicide and assault on a minor.

Toby's House Crisis Nursery in Great Falls issued the following statement:

Toby's House reacts to child's death

Toby’s House was created in honor of October "Toby" Perez, a two-year-old girl who died at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend in 2011. The crisis nursery provides short-term care for children voluntarily brought there by a parent or legal guardian.

To learn more about Toby's House, or to volunteer or donate, click here to visit the website. You can also call 406-770-3191‬ or email admin@tobyshousemt.org.



(1st REPORT, APRIL 23) Whisper Rayne Hawkbear was arrested on Friday, April 21, 2023, and booked into the Cascade County Detention Center at approximately 1:15 p.m.

The pending charges against Hawkbear, 20 years old, are deliberate homicide and assault on a minor.

A spokesman for the Great Falls Police Department told MTN News that the fatality was a two-month old child; the assault charge against Hawkbear involved a toddler.

The alleged crimes happened at the Rockcress Commons apartment complex (2200 block of 23rd Street South).

We expect to get details later on Monday when charges are likely to be filed by the County Attorney, and will update you as we get more information.