Parents Held in Killing of Baby Boy : Body Left in Trash; Mother Gives Birth to 3rd After Arrest

Times Staff Writer

Had little Paul Anthony Mesa, the 23-month-old baby whose battered and diaper-clad body was found in a paper bag in a trash bin last week, lived a few more days, he would have been around Saturday afternoon for the birth of his baby brother.

His mother, Josephine Mesa, 18, gave birth to a boy at Tri-City Medical Center--several hours after she and her husband, a Marine based at Camp Pendleton, were arrested in connection with the beating death of Paul Mesa.

The case had baffled Oceanside police since the boy’s body was discovered Thursday morning by two men rummaging for aluminum cans. The break came Friday night. Police were questioning residents of the apartments on Carey Road, near where the body was found, when Josephine Mesa approached investigators about 8 o’clock and told them she had information about the baby’s identity.

But she told Oceanside police that she didn’t want to talk while her husband, Lance Cpl. Paul Mesa, 20, was present. Police then called her from headquarters. About 10 p.m., the Mesas came to the station.


Four hours later, they were arrested. Police believe that the baby was beaten to death Tuesday. They also believe, based on old wounds on the body, that the baby had been beaten for a long time.

Josephine Mesa was arrested on suspicion of murder and felony child abuse. Paul Mesa was arrested on suspicion of felony child abuse and of being an accessory to murder. He was taken to the County Jail in Vista.

Police were planning to take Josephine Mesa to jail but took her to the hospital after she began complaining of labor pains. She had the boy several hours later.

Oceanside police said the baby probably will be turned over to county foster care authorities when the mother, who is under police guard, leaves the hospital.


Authorities also took the couple’s oldest son, 32-month-old Paul Sanchez, born to the couple before they were married, and placed him in the county’s Hillcrest Receiving Home.

Each of the parents also was held on suspicion of child abuse stemming from beatings allegedly inflicted on Paul Sanchez, who was left home alone when the couple went to the police station.