A Battle Ground woman is accused of trying to suffocate her 6-year-old daughter during a psychotic episode in October 2010.
Sara A. Monte, 42, appeared Friday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree attempted murder.
Judge Robert Lewis on Friday held Monte in lieu of $100,000 bail. She said she plans to hire an attorney to defend her.
She is scheduled to be arraigned on the charge May 2.
Vancouver police arrested Monte early Thursday in Battle Ground, according to court records. It’s unclear why it took so long to make an arrest in the case. Police investigators didn’t immediately respond to inquiries from the Columbian, and a prosecutor on the case said ethical standards prevent him from explaining the timing of the arrest.
“I’m not able to comment at this time on the timing of the charge — why it was charged now,” said Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Patrick Robinson.
“That would mean I would have to talk about the facts of the case, and we don’t want to impact the defendant’s right to a fair trial by discussing the facts of the case,” Robinson said by phone Friday.
Court records show that Clark County sheriff’s deputies, Vancouver police and the Clark County Children’s Justice Center worked the case at some point or possibly in cooperation.
According to court records, Monte’s husband, Cameron, said he was in the shower Oct. 23, 2010, when he heard the couple’s 6-year-old daughter screaming. He got out of the shower and saw their daughter lying on the bed. His wife was standing in the doorway with “a blank, empty and scary look on her face,” according to a court affidavit. Sara Monte then left the home, court records say.
Clark County sheriff’s deputies later responded to the home. It’s unclear from court records who summoned police to the residence. Sara Monte was taken to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center on an involuntary mental hold. The case was referred to Child Protective Services.
The 6-year-old told a CPS social worker that her mother plugged her nose and covered her mouth, according to court records. She was unable to breathe until her mother let go, court records say.
The social worker also interviewed Sara Monte, who said she was having a psychotic episode at the time, court records say.
“I felt that in order to let her live, I needed to kill her,” she said, according to court records. “She kept fighting and fighting.”
Monte still lived with her husband and two children at the time of her arrest, according to court records. She has no criminal history.