Police have charged the boyfriend of a woman whose 10-month-old baby was found seriously injured after he was reported missing in Broome and later died near Karratha.
The baby was reported missing at 1.20am on Wednesday after what was understood to be a domestic disturbance at a Broome family home on Tuesday night.
He was found the next day at a Pilbara roadhouse but died in an ambulance on the way to Nickol Bay Hospital.
The West Australian understands the boy's mother was admitted to Broome Hospital for treatment, believed to include a psychiatric assessment, after the argument.
While she was in hospital the baby was cared for by relatives and ended up in the hands of the woman's 25-year-old boyfriend.
It is understood he intended to take the baby to the hospital to visit the child's mother about 11pm but he did not arrive. More than 12 hours after the boy was reported missing, he and the man arrived at Fortescue Roadhouse in Mardie, about 100km south of Karratha and almost 900km from Broome, about 2pm on Wednesday.
It is understood the baby had been badly injured, possibly at Broome, and it is believed he was near death when he arrived at the roadhouse.
Channel 7 reported the boy had horrific injuries.
Major crime squad detectives flew to Karratha yesterday to interview the man, who was taken into custody by police at the roadhouse.
He was charged with grievous bodily harm more than 28 hours after he arrived at the roadhouse.
That charge may be upgraded to murder pending an autopsy result.
The baby's family in Broome were too distraught yesterday to talk about the incident.
Yawuru and Jabirr Jabirr elder Cissy Djiagween said it was extremely sad and called on the community not to react with anger.
"We don't know the circumstances surrounding this tragedy," she said. "The important thing to remember is people must stay calm while this matter is investigated."Police are trying to piece together the movements of a silver 1982 Toyota LandCruiser, which was allegedly driven by the man from Broome to Fortescue Roadhouse.
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