Detectives await toxicology testing in death of infant

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Siskiyou County Sheriff’s detectives are waiting for the results of toxicology tests before determining whether to move forward with charges against a mother and her companion who left a 7 month-old to sleep in a car while camping near Twin Arrows Aug. 15 and awoke to find the child unresponsive.

Deputy Mike Burns and Sergeant Ben Whetstine responded to the campsite just before 9:30 a.m. Whetstine performed CPR on the infant for several minutes while waiting for an ambulance and firefighter first responders to arrive.

CPR was continued in the ambulance, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said, but the child was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The mother and her companion were visiting the area from out of state, the Sheriff’s Office reported. They were released, pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

Investigators determined that a 2 year-old child and the 7 month-old infant were left in the vehicle while the couple slept in a nearby tent.

“The mother reportedly checked on the baby during the night but found the child unresponsive in the morning,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

Siskiyou County Child Protective Services was summoned and took custody of the 2 year-old.

An autopsy was conducted on Aug. 16 to help detectives determine a cause and manner of death in the case. Although the autopsy results were inconclusive, investigators are still waiting for the results of the infant’s toxicology tests.

“Possible charges could potentially involve child neglect, child endangerment, and even involuntary manslaughter but that will depend on the final recommendations made after the investigation is complete and submitted to the district attorney,” said Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey.