A 29-year-old man has been arrested after his 5-year-old son died in a suspected case of child abuse in Rialto, police said Wednesday.
Officers responded to a report of a child not breathing in the 1100 block of South Althea Avenue just before 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to a Rialto Police Department news release.
They found the boy unconscious after making contact with his stepmother and immediately began attempting emergency life-saving measures.
Paramedics arrived and transported the boy to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to the release.
He has not been identified.
The victim’s death triggered an investigation, and detectives uncovered evidence that the boy suffered “severe visible injuries from suspected child abuse,” the release stated.
Investigators determined he had been physically abused as recently as the hours before he died.
A cause of death, however, is not yet known.
Miguel Castaneda Sr., the child’s father, was interviewed by police and then subsequently arrested on suspicion of homicide and felony child abuse after investigators interviewed him, authorities said.
Castaneda rented out part of the home and lived in it with the stepmother and her two children, according to neighbors. He had three of his children there as well.
The 5-year-old son lived with his mother in Texas, but was visiting Southern California for the summer, officers said.
Neighbors told KTLA they’ve seen police vehicles at the home before; authorities confirmed officers have investigated activity at the home previously, but did not elaborate.
“For us now, our job is to get justice for this 5-year-old, make sure this man is prosecuted to the fullest,” said Rialto police Sgt. Cameron Nelson. “But also now have a responsibility now to the four other kids in the house, we’re going to ensure that they’re safe and they’re well taken care of.”
Castaneda has been booked into the West Valley Detention Center and is ineligible for bail, inmate records indicated.
Anyone with information about the case is urged to call Detective Ralph Ballew at 909-820-8055 or email him at Rballew@rialtopd.com.