Dolci Gryshayeva might have grown up to be a world-class gymnast. After all, both her grandparents excelled at the sport. But the two-year-old never got the chance, allegedly dying at the hands of Keith Ruiz, her mom's boyfriend. Lakewood Police spokesman Steve Davis calls the case "one of the more disturbing I've seen in 32 years in this business."
Police arrived at an apartment on the 700 block of South Vance Street at around 5 p.m. this past Wednesday in response to a report that a child wasn't breathing. There, cops began questioning Ruiz, 24 -- the only person home at the time. Dolci's mom, Anastasia Gryshayeva, 23, arrived a short time later.
Ruiz was soon arrested on charges of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury -- and that's an understatement. Young Dolci was transported to a local hospital, but there wasn't much medical personnel could do for her. "I know the family feels she died Thursday afternoon, and I understand," Davis says. "But technically and legally, it didn't happen until late Friday. That's when the coroner made an official pronouncement."
The arrest affidavit remains sealed at this point, and Davis can't share many details -- although he makes it clear he'd like to. All he can say right now is that Dolci died of non-accidental trauma.
Clearly, the allegation against Ruiz will need to be bumped up, and Davis says, "it's my understanding that our people will be meeting with the DA's office to try to determine the most appropriate charge or charges in the case. They've got options. They could go with child abuse resulting in death, or if they feel like the elements of first-degree murder are met, they might decide to go that way."
Either way, Davis expects formal charges to be filed within the next 72 hours.
In the meantime, the Gryshayeva family is no doubt struggling to understand how another of Anastasia's boyfriends could have gotten into trouble with the law. The Denver Post reports that Dolci's father, Daniel Vincent Aragon, 22, was being chased by police last year for a parole violation when he fell from a bridge and died.
The tears prompted by this incident contrast with the cheers Dolci's grandparents, Roman and Iryna Gryshayeva, have heard over the years. According to the Post, the two are natives of the Ukraine, where he was a seven-time national champion on the pommel horse and she was deemed Europe's finest on the trampoline. They're currently on staff at 5280 Gymnastics, coaching promising tumblers like Christian Gidlund, who's seen in the video below.
Also on view: a larger look at Ruiz's mug shot. At this writing, he remains in custody in Jefferson County jail, waiting to learn the allegations he'll face.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Robert Walters trial: Best friend of victim Brittney Brashers testifies about night she died."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.