Suspect in toddler death held without bond

CHEYENNE – Wyatt Dean Lamb, a suspect in the death of 2-year-old Athian Rivera, appeared March 4 in Laramie County District Court in relation to a domestic violence incident from February 2020.

Through his attorney, Ericka Smith, Lamb entered a denial to two bond revocation accusations filed by the state: one filed late last summer after Lamb failed to appear for a hearing, and a more recent accusation filed Feb. 25, alleging he violated bond conditions by living with and having contact with the victim in the case, Kassandra Orona, since August 2020. Orona is also Rivera’s mother.

Lamb, 27, of Cheyenne, is charged with felony strangulation of a household member, misdemeanor property destruction and interference with a peace officer (resisting). According to court documents, bond conditions set in March 2020 prohibited Lamb from having contact with Orona and from being within one block of her home.

Orona posted $6,000 for Lamb’s bond in the domestic violence case, according to court documents.

An affidavit signed by a Cheyenne Police detective said Lamb was contacted by officers at Orona’s home on Feb. 19 during a “suspicious death” investigation. Lamb was arrested about three hours after the initial contact, after detectives confirmed he had violated bond conditions and had an active warrant.

At the March 4 court appearance, Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove argued Lamb should be held without bond because he is “the sole identified suspect in an aggravated child abuse and homicide investigation.” Cheyenne Police announced Feb. 23 they were recommending Lamb be charged with aggravated child abuse and murder.

“Mr. Lamb is aware of that, and I think that that makes him a flight risk,” Manlove said.

It’s unclear when the District Attorney’s office might officially file new charges against Lamb related to Rivera’s death, though autopsy results are not expected for another four to six weeks.

Laramie County District Judge Catherine Rogers ordered Lamb be held without bond in the Laramie County jail, pending his trial and bond revocation evidentiary hearings.

Rogers set hearings for both bond revocation petitions, as well as a trial in the underlying domestic violence case, for the week of July 19.

At 1:23 a.m. Feb. 28, 2020, Cheyenne Police responded to a report of domestic battery on Desmet Drive. Orona told officers she was “attacked” by Lamb, who she had been dating for about five months, according to court documents.

Orona said she and Lamb had been in an argument about an ex-boyfriend when Lamb hit her in the back of the head and put her in a chokehold from behind, preventing her from breathing. She said she lost consciousness for a few seconds and began yelling, “Don’t hurt my kids.” Lamb then began hitting her in the face, according to court documents.

An officer said Orona had injuries consistent with strangulation, as well as scratches and bruises.

Officers found Lamb “sleeping in an apparent state of intoxication” in a bedroom in the home, according to court documents. Lamb denied fighting Orona and said they’d been in a verbal argument, though an officer observed what they believed to be defensive wounds on his face and hand.

Lamb became uncooperative during questioning, later physically resisting arrest and was placed in a full body restraint.