Caretaker Surrenders to Face Charges in Death of Disabled Man Left in Hot Car in West Covina

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Timothy Cortinas is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Irene Melendez)
Timothy Cortinas is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Irene Melendez)

A caretaker turned himself in Thursday to face charges in the death of an intellectually disabled man who he was hired to transport but allegedly left in a hot car in West Covina last summer, officials said.

Emanuel Arellano, 25, surrendered to authorities at the Los Angeles County sheriff’s station in San Dimas around 7:30 a.m., the department said in a news release.

Inmate records show he was released from custody around 2:20 p.m. after posting $50,000 bond.

Arellano was charged May 31 with involuntary manslaughter and dependent care abuse resulting in death of 51-year-old Timothy John Cortinas, investigators said.

The defendant was previously sued for wrongful death in the case by Cortinas’ mother, Irene Melendez. The suit also names the nonprofit Easterseals, San Gabriel/Pomona Valley’s Developmental Services and Holy Family Children’s Care as parties responsible for Cortinas’ safety and transportation at the time of his death.

Cortinas was diagnosed with a severe intellectual disability, infantile autism, a seizure disorder, was “borderline non-verbal” and had “the mental capacity of a child,” the complaint states.

The day he died, Aug. 3, Cortinas was supposed to be dropped off at the housing facility where he lived in Walnut. But Arellano allegedly instead drove to his own home in West Covina with his client still in the car, where he left the disabled man.

Shortly after 8 p.m., Cortinas was spotted inside the vehicle by a neighbor of Arellano’s who called police. It’s unknown exactly how long he was in the car, while outdoor temperatures that day reached close to 100 degrees, according to complaint.

The lawsuit alleges Arellano never went back outside to check on Cortinas.

At the time Cortinas died, sheriff’s detectives said he “may have been accidentally left” in the vehicle and that Arellano was cooperating in the investigation.

Arellano is scheduled to make his first court appearance in the case Friday in Pomona, jail records show.

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