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Police search for motive in ‘heinous’ fatal stabbing of 3-year-old girl at mother’s work

Police investigating the killing of a 3-year-old girl at her mother’s downtown factory job said her alleged killer and mother both worked at the factory but had “minimal contact.”

Detectives have not determined what motivated Ricardo Augusto Utuy, 34, who is being held on suspicion of repeatedly stabbing “Baby Ruby” Vasquez without warning at her mother’s workplace, a clothing factory in the 800 block of McGarry Street, on Monday night, police said.

“This individual did something that was unthinkable. a most heinous act to a very young child,” Sgt. Moses Castillo told KTLA-TV. “Anyone who recognizes his photograph…tell us what you know about him, what history he may have.”

Utuy had worked at the factory for only about two weeks, KTLA reported.

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Utuy, who was arrested by police Tuesday morning, was sometimes seen laughing and talking to himself and did things that made co-workers think he was “not all there,” LAPD Capt. Jorge Rodriguez said.

Ruby had just been picked up from her daycare and dropped off at her mother’s work when she was killed, police said. The girl’s mother had stepped away from her workstation shortly before 5 p.m. when police said Utuy attacked the girl with a knife, stabbing her “multiple times” before fleeing.

The girl’s mother returned and summoned an ambulance. Ruby was taken to a hospital, where she died, police said.

Utuy is being held on $1-million bail pending formal charges.

Staff writer Nicole Santa Cruz contributed to this report.

Joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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