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Man with criminal history dating back to 1999 charged in murder of girlfriend’s 5-year-old

Ryan Burge

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Police are investigating the death of a 5-year-old girl that took place in Vancouver, Washington on Friday, Nov. 2.

Officers said they responded to Madison Park Apartments located in the 12000 block of NE 28th Street around 5 p.m. When officers arrived, they found medical personal transporting a 5-year-old girl named Hartley Anderson, who was unconscious and had severe head trauma.

Police said Hartley was in the care of her mother’s boyfriend, identified as Ryan Burge, 37. Initial information provided by Burge was that the child had injured herself while having a tantrum, according to police.

Police said Hartley was transported to the hospital and shortly after arrival, she was pronounced dead.

The little girl’s family is in shock.

“You just get so sick, you know? So many different emotions,” said Whitney Luchau, Hartley’s aunt.

Family members said they won’t be coming to any conclusions until they have all the facts.

“We don’t know exactly what happened, but if he did, how dare him. That is the absolute worst worst thing — to a 5-year-old girl. I mean, that’s…ugh,” said TJ Luchau, Hartlet’s uncle.

Detectives from the Vancouver Police Department’s Major Crime Unit and Children’s Justice Center were contacted and later arrested Burge for second-degree murder.

Vancouver police are still investigating Hartley’s death, and the family said their sister, Hartley’s mom, was too shaken to give them details, so they said instead, they’re trying to focus on the positive memories.

Even in the heartbreak, they said the little girl still makes them smile.

“She was just like, one-of-a-kind. Just, her personality was amazing. Just a ball of fire,” said TJ Luchau.

KPTV found Burge has a criminal history dating back to 1999. He faced charges for domestic violence and harassment. He was charged for arson, but that was dismissed and he was convicted of malicious mischief in 2001.