WATONGA — The mother of an 8-year-old Watonga girl believes her daughter was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death by a cousin who had spent the night in their apartment after passing out drunk.
Erma Daukei, 30, said Tuesday that when the body of her daughter, Rosalin Reynolds, was found in a field behind the apartment building “her gown was pulled up and her panties were on one leg.”
The mother's cousin, James “Icey” Daukei Jr., 20, of Watonga, is charged in Blaine County with first-degree murder. A judge denied bail. Authorities said James Daukei confessed to the killing, but investigators have not said what led to the March 23 attack or if there was a sexual assault.
James Daukei is accused of stabbing the second-grader multiple times with a knife, which Erma Daukei says was her own 10-inch kitchen knife.
Erma Daukei said she and her husband, Ralph Reynolds, 32, had been arguing the day before their daughter was killed, and she had gone to a neighboring apartment to cool off. She said she checked on her sleeping children during the night and saw her husband on a recliner and James Daukei on the couch.
The mother said James Daukei became intoxicated the day before at the family's home at Grand Prairie Apartments. “I asked his friends to take him home — he was hiding from his dad.”
Instead, Erma Daukei said, his friends gave him more to drink to get him to pass out and then left him on her couch.
James Daukei posted a message March 18 on his Facebook page stating he was “out of rehab and ready to start my new life,” with the backing of family members.
Daukei said she had been fighting with Rosalin's father most of the day and evening before going to a friend's residence in the same apartment complex.
She said she checked on the couple's three children twice that night, and they were sleeping. “The last time I checked on them was sometime after 2 a.m.” At 4 a.m., Daukei said, she told her friend she was ready to go home.
She said when she entered her apartment, James Daukei was gone, and Ralph Reynolds was sleeping on the couch.
She went into the bathroom and saw a knife covered with blood in the sink and blood splattered everywhere, she said. Rosalin was missing.
“I went into a panic,” Erma Daukei said. “I went to my sister's apartment and to my friend's apartment, but she wasn't there. I starting pounding on everyone's door trying to find her.”
About 5 a.m., James Daukei was found lying next to Rosalin in the field, investigators said. He had a shovel, which he had used to dig a grave. Rosalin's body had at least four puncture or incise wounds, investigators said. The state medical examiner said she died from a stab wound to the chest but released no further autopsy details.
Ralph Reynolds told police he and another man, Frank Skinner, found Rosalin.
“Everything that has been written or told by the Daukeis has been fictitious,” said Mary Koons, who identified herself Tuesday as Ralph Reynolds' mother and Rosalin's grandmother.
Ralph Reynolds could not be reached for comment.
DHS removed children
The children looked at James as a big kid, Erma Daukei said.
“He would tell them he was going to teach them how to box or something like that,” she said.
After Rosalin's death, Erma Daukei's 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter were taken away by the state Department of Human Services.
Erma Daukei said it was because the slaying happened in the home.
She said she was told by police after Rosalin's slaying that Ralph was not allowed to be near her because of a restraining order.
Records show Erma Daukei filed a protective order in Custer County against Reynolds on April 29, 2008, claiming he tried to hit her. The court ruled the protective order is valid until May 6.
Cheyenne & Arapaho court records show Daukei filed for a divorce in August 2008, but the couple reconciled a year later.