Baby Diego was just one day old when he was found, apparently strangled, in his mother’s room in the maternity ward of St. John’s Medical Center in Oxnard.
His mother, 20-year-old Andrea Torralba Camacho, and her boyfriend, David Luna Villa, 21, have been arrested on suspicion of assault on a child by means of force resulting in the child’s death, Oxnard police said.
Medical staff at the hospital called authorities at 7:53 a.m. Friday, reporting a “suspicious injury” to the newborn, police said. The baby had been found unresponsive and was in critical condition.
When investigators arrived, Camacho and Villa told them they had suffocated the baby boy until he was unconscious, according to Oxnard Police Sgt. Brandon Ordelheide. Ordelheide said Camacho told investigators that she didn’t want the baby and that Villa, her boyfriend, was not the child’s father.
Ordelheide said doctors spent more than 10 hours trying to revive Diego, but he died of his injuries Friday evening.
“By the looks of the nurses, they did everything they could to try and revive that kid,” he said. “I can tell you this is probably one of the worst things these detectives can go through, is something like this, but we’re still trying to figure out what happened.”
“While we deal with tragedies every day, the staff at St. John’s Regional Medical Center are devastated by the alleged incident,” the hospital said in a statement to KCBS-TV Channel 2. “In the midst of this investigation, it is timely to remind our community of California’s Safe Surrender Law.”
Under state law, a baby up to three days old can be anonymously surrendered at sites such as hospitals and fire stations. In 2017, the last year for which data are available, 88 infants were safely surrendered. Anyone needing additional information about Safe Surrender sites may call (877) 222-9723.
Camacho and Villa are scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon. Oxnard police said they have requested $1-million bail for each, but Ventura County Sheriff’s records say their bail has been set at $5 million.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Det. Juan Morales at (805) 385-3922.