Toddler killed in Tacoma had McCleary ties

The man charged with raping and murdering a 2-year-old McCleary boy will stand trial in Pierce County on May 29.

Chayson Colley-Jones died in Tacoma March 30 after being in the care of his mother’s boyfriend, Jake Musga, 19. Musga pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and first-degree child rape at an April 3 court appearance. He is being held on $2 million bail.

At the time of death the child had a blood alcohol level of .12 and was covered in severe bruises, according to court papers. An autopsy performed by the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office found fatal blows to the child’s head and torso, as well as injuries consistent with rape.

“Nothing shocks the conscience more than the murder of a child,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist in a press release. “This is a particularly horrifying crime and we will hold the defendant accountable.”

Musga often cared for Colley-Jones while the child’s mother, Laura Colley, worked, according to court papers. On March 29, Musga was left alone with the child when Colley left to celebrate her birthday in McCleary. The child’s grandparents are Cathy and Troy Colley of McCleary. Cathy Colley was active in local Republican politics for many years and Troy Colley was once director of the Coastal Community Action Program based in Aberdeen.

Tacoma police received a 911 call at about 4 a.m. from a witness who said he saw Musga holding the badly-bruised child in the lobby of his apartment building. According to charging papers, Musga told police the baby had fallen out of bed and he noticed then that the child wasn’t breathing.

The child was taken to the hospital and died later that morning, and police arrested Musga.

Musga claimed the toddler obtained some of the bruises hitting his head on a counter earlier in the week, but the medical examiner found the child’s injuries were inconsistent with any kind of fall. Musga attributed the high blood-alcohol level to the baby sneaking sips of a vodka drink when he left the room.

Musga also claimed that he and Colley noticed the child’s bruising on March 29 and contacted a pediatrician. The couple decided not to take the baby to the doctor because the bruises looked “too bad,” Musga told investigators. Musga and Colley had been dating for two months after meeting in rehab, according to court papers. They moved to Tacoma together about five weeks ago.