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Mother Held for Injuring Baby During Quarrel : Crime: While arguing with child’s father, suspect allegedly dropped infant over a six-foot-high fence, fracturing 3-month-old girl’s skull.

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A 23-year-old Oxnard woman has been arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment for allegedly dropping her baby over a six-foot-high chain-link fence during an argument with her boyfriend, the child’s father, authorities said Monday.

A half-dozen witnesses told police that Aretha Marcell Chester dangled her 3-month-old daughter over the fence in Sierra Linda Park on Sunday evening while chasing after the man, who had already scaled the fence and was walking away.

The fall fractured the baby’s skull, police said.

Chester, who is being held in Ventura County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail, told police that the baby, Sara Kimbrough, was hurt when she tumbled out of a child’s car seat resting on a picnic table at the north Oxnard park.

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After staying overnight in the pediatric intensive care unit at St. John’s Regional Medical Center, Sara was moved to the hospital’s nursery and her condition was improving, police said.

Detective Lee Wilcox said he does not believe Chester intended to hurt her daughter, but that the baby apparently became a pawn in the argument between the couple.

“She wasn’t upset at the baby,” Wilcox said. “They were arguing, and the baby got in the middle of the argument.”

Witnesses told police that Chester was shouting at her companion, asking him to return to the fence.

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“She was trying to give him the baby, but he wasn’t anywhere near the baby when she dropped it.” Wilcox said. “She wasn’t thinking about what she was doing, or she wouldn’t have dropped the baby in the first place.”

The couple had been arguing in the park for some time before the incident occurred, according to witnesses. After Chester allegedly dropped Sara over the fence, she climbed over, picked up the baby and continued arguing with her companion, whose name was not released.

A short time later, the couple drove away from the park together.

Several witnesses immediately called police and gave a description of the couple’s vehicle. Officers stopped Chester and her boyfriend on Lantana Street, a short distance from the park.

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The couple told patrol officers they were on the way to the hospital to get medical help for the baby.

“She was very upset that the baby was injured,” Wilcox said.

The baby was then treated by paramedics and taken to the hospital.

Wilcox said he planned to meet this morning with representatives of the Ventura County district attorney’s office to discuss the case.

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Chester is scheduled to be arraigned today at 1:30 in Ventura County Municipal Court.


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