Coast Guard officer found not guilty in military trial over daughter's death

By DAVID DEBOLT | East Bay Times (Tribune News Service) | Published: December 16, 2017

ALAMEDA, Calif. — A Coast Guard petty officer on Thursday was found not guilty of child endangerment in a military court hearing connected to the death of his 3-year-old daughter.

The verdict ends a six-year investigation into Petty Officer 2nd Class Jimmy Barlow, who faced charges from the Coast Guard but not the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

His daughter, Eden Lynch, arrived by ambulance at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland on Aug. 31, 2011, with a black eye, bruises and cuts. The toddler was unconscious and died days later, a death the Alameda County Coroner's Office ruled a homicide, listing blunt force trauma to the head as the cause.

At the time, Barlow was stationed at Coast Guard Island and living with his daughter and girlfriend at an apartment in Alameda. The girlfriend and now wife, Holli Barlow, was charged last Aug. 17 with felony child abuse and special allegations of willful harm or injury resulting in death, according to Alameda County District Attorney online records.

Holli Barlow was caring for Eden on the day the girl lost consciousness while her husband worked, according to previous news reports. NBC Bay Area reported that Holli Barlow was arrested in September and attended the military trial but used her Fifth Amendment right not to testify.

Alameda County prosecutors have alleged Holli failed to get medical help as Eden's condition worsened, the television news station reported. The verdict saddened the family of Eden's biological mother who for years had called on authorities to charge Jimmy or Holli Barlow or both.

Rhona Lynch, the girl's grandmother, told NBC Bay Area on Thursday her "whole family is pretty much in shock."

"We weren't expecting this. It's like we're reliving a lot of really bad memories for an outcome that wasn't expected. We're disappointed," she said.

Jimmy Barlow is now stationed in Kodiak, Alaska, and returned to Alameda for the 10-day court martial presided over by a military judge, according to the Coast Guard. He faced charges of child endangerment resulting in gross bodily harm.

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