Updated: Dec 25, 2022
Two-year-old Athian Rivera was reported missing, last seen on the 400 block of Desmet Drive. He was reported to be wearing a short-sleeved shirt and black sweatpants. The Cheyenne Police Department sent out a 911 alert to all residence within a 1/2 mile radius of the location he was last seen at. He was immediately listed in the missing database (believed to be NCMEC), and a search began immediately with agencies that included the Cheyenne Police Department, Laramie County Sheriff's Department, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the Cheyenne Fire and Rescue
Hours later, Athian was found in a dumpster on the same street. His body was wrapped in a blue and white fitted sheet and a blanket that was inside of five black plastic trash bags. Athian's body was still warm at the time it was discovered.
That night, a candlelight vigil was held for little Athian.
The mom's boyfriend was arrested on unrelated warrants, 27-year-old Wyatt Dean Lamb, on a parole violation. There was an order by the court to stay away from Athian's mother, then found that he was living with her since August 2020. Related reports show the mother was being abused by Lamb, and did not know what happened to Athian when he disappeared. An affidavit recommending he be charged with murder and aggravated child abuse was filed shortly after Athian was found deceased.
The forensic pathologist confirmed that Athian's body was wrapped in a bedsheet and blanket, then placed inside five trash bags. The cause of death was listed as cerebral edema with herniation, caused by thermal injuries, suffocation, and blunt force trauma. Athian had blunt force injuries all over his body, contusions, abrasions, burn marks on his genitals and burn marks on his legs and groin, likely caused by a handheld blowtorch found in the mother’s apartment.
Lamb was then charged with first-degree murder and ten felony counts of child abuse by the Laramie County State Attorney's office.
Athian's mother reported to investigators that the day before Athian disappeared, February 18 at 5:30 p.m., she went to work and left her three children with Lamb at her residence. She spoke with Lamb while she was at work a few times and everything seemed ok. At one point while she was still at work, Lamb told the mother that Athian started vomiting and coughing. She told Lamb to keep an eye on him until she could get him to a doctor. She got home about 3:30 a.m., she saw all three children sleeping together in bed. She smoked marijuana with Lamb and she went to sleep about an hour later.
The day of Athian's disappearance, she reported that Lamb was acting 'nicer than normal' and asked her for some clean sheets, because Athian had vomited on them the night before. Lamb usually walked her oldest child to school in the morning, but instead asked the mother to drive the oldest child to school so she wouldn't be late, which the mother found odd. A video, however, shows that Lamb was in the vehicle with the mother when the child was dropped off at school. The mother said she returned home at 9:30 a.m. She hadn't seen Athian but assumed he was still sleeping. She smoked marijuana again, and took a nap.
Athian's mother woke up at 12:15 p.m., and Lamb told her that Athian was missing. She said she searched around the apartment, then called the police. Lamb had reportedly left the apartment when she called 911, and he returned about 1:30 p.m. He said he was in his own apartment on 2/19/21 and that the mother called him at his apartment to notify him that Athian was missing. Lamb denied having any part of Athian's disappearance.
Investigators confirmed that Lamb moved out of the apartment he shared with a roommate. The mother's employer confirmed her alibi at work with a time sheet and video footage.
DNA on the garbage bags matched Lamb.
December 2022, Lamb plead guilty to second-degree murder. Lamb now says in a hearing that he hadn’t meant to kill the toddler and that when Athian threw the honey bun he’d given him for a snack, he became overwhelmed with anger. “It was just a very surreal tunnel vision, and he was, unfortunately, the only thing in my view, and I grabbed him by his leg and I pulled him toward me, and then I put my right hand over his mouth.
“And when I try and think back to that event, to what I was doing, I was just trying to … I wanted him to feel the pain, the suffering that I was feeling on the inside,” Lamb continued. “I just wanted him to pass out and just feel that pain. I never intended to kill him.”
Sentencing is set for March 2023.
Athian was cremated.
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