A 2-year-old boy found dead aboard a bus in California City this week was allegedly killed by the boyfriend of the child’s Lancaster mother, authorities said.
Pharaoh Vanvactor was found dead Wednesday morning at 7:25 a.m. on a Kern Regional Transit Bus. The toddler had been with 26-year-old Mathew Berry, the mother’s boyfriend, according to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.
An autopsy conducted Thursday showed the toddler died from blunt force trauma in a homicide. Berry was arrested for murder and assault on a child causing death.
The child’s mother, Adrianna Brown, told NBC4 that Berry, her boyfriend of five months, was supposed to have taken her son to get ice cream, “to get a pair of new shoes and to the hardware store. And he was supposed to bring him right back to me.”
Authorities said the child and Berry were spotted on the side of the road about 10 miles north of California City by a bus driver.
“The driver stopped and asked if they needed assistance or a ride to California City at which time the adult male boarded the bus with the child,” according to a news release from the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.
The adult male then told the driver the child was having medical complications and not breathing, the Sheriff’s Department said.
The driver notified authorities, who met the bus near the intersection of California City Boulevard and Nueralia Road, where Pharaoh was pronounced dead.