Police have arrested a 22-year-old California man who is accused of throwing his dead, 8-month-old daughter by a cemetery dumpster and fleeing.
Alexander Echeverria was arrested after a week-long manhunt near the Mexico border on June 3. He’s a person of interest in the death of his infant daughter, Alexia Rose Echeverria, reported CrimeOnline.
Alexia was found dead at the Funeraria del Angel Bellflower Mortuary in Bellflower, California, on May 27. The baby was found “in a child’s car seat, car seat was upright, and had a blanket partially covering the baby,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Detective Steve Blagg.
In a press conference, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said Echeverria surrendered himself to federal authorities at the Mexico-US border in the presence of his attorney.
The authorities said the father was reported missing by the family on the morning the child was found dead.
“He is considered at-risk due to suicidal statements made to family members recently,” the Sheriff’s office said in the first release on its Facebook page.
The baby’s mother, Karla Alvarado, told CBS Los Angeles that Echeverria told her that he was driving to San Francisco to pick up his brother.
She said he called her later and was crying on the phone but disclosed nothing about Alexia. She asked him to return home with the child or else she would call the police.
“He was never gonna be on his way, he just wanted to win some time to keep running,” Alvarado said, according to the news outlet.
The mother said a family member informed her about the actual unfolding of events. “He was playing with her, here in Sacramento, and he threw her in the air and she fell and she wasn’t waking up,” Alvarado said.
Echeverria told the family member that he was driving to the hospital but later changed his plans and decided to drive to his mother’s place 400 miles away.
“He just left her there like she was trash or something,” Alvarado said. “I just want them to find him. I want to know exactly how my baby passed away, why he left her there, why he couldn’t face the consequences.”
UPDATE: Sheriff’s officials in Sacramento say Alexander Echeverria was returning to the U.S. from Mexico and had a lawyer with him at the time of his surrender. https://t.co/Cz3QNOQVkR
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) June 3, 2019
What Happens When You Drop a Baby?
Babies have large heads, which are their body’s most important and vulnerable part.
“The brain is developing very quickly in the first year of life, it’s incredibly metabolically active, and it’s also relatively unprotected,” Christopher Moir, a pediatric trauma surgeon at the Mayo Clinic told Vice.
Moir said falls are the number one cause of injury in infants, and “the head is by far the most common system injured.”
According to a study from the University of Pennsylvania, head injuries account for 95,000 admissions and 29,000 permanent injuries among children every year in the United States.
“The baby could develop a brain bleed, but that could only really happen if the baby dropped head-first directly from your arms onto a hard floor with absolutely no break in the fall,” said the Vice report.
The moment after a fall is very important for a child’s recovery. “If the baby loses consciousness, starts vomiting, refuses to eat, or doesn’t cry or open its eyes after the fall, bring the baby directly to the emergency room,” the report said.