Skip to comments.Baby dies in vehicle waiting at casino
Posted on 02/16/2006 8:16:45 AM PST by radar101
SYCUAN INDIAN RESERVATION Sheriff's detectives are investigating after a child died yesterday, apparently while waiting in a car with his father outside Sycuan Casino while the mother was inside.
The cause of death was unknown.
The county Medical Examiner's Office identified the boy as Thomas Baca, 6 months old , of Spring Valley. His father was identified as Richard Baca.
It wasn't clear last night whether the case involved a homicide or an accidental death, said sheriff's Lt. Dennis Brugos of the homicide unit.
Brugos said he didn't know when the family arrived at the casino on Sycuan Road south of Dehesa Road. Investigators were reviewing security camera tapes in hopes of seeing the mother going inside or the car.
Richard Baca told authorities that he and his son waited in the car. They were parked in a customer self-parking lot a distance from the main entrance.
Baca said he took the boy out of his car seat for a while, then put him back in it. At some point the father fell asleep. He woke to find Thomas not breathing, Brugos said.
Baca sought help by flagging down a casino security officer, who called tribal police and fire officials. Sheriff's deputies were called at 3:40 p.m. Firefighters tried to revive the child and Mercy Air helicopter landed at the casino, but the boy was declared dead about 4:20 p.m.
Brugos said he did not believe the boy's mother is a casino employee. He did not know how long she was inside or how long the father had slept.
Detectives were interviewing the child's parents last night. Deputies taped off about two rows of cars in the customer parking lot.
The National Weather Service said the high temperature in El Cajon, a few miles west of Dehesa, was 61 yesterday.
Sycuan tribal Chairman Danny Tucker was in Hawaii last night and said he had no details about the incident, and tribal Police Chief Bill Denke referred inquiries about the incident to sheriff's detectives. Tucker and Denke both described the death as a tragedy and pledged the tribe's full cooperation with sheriff's investigators.
The 150-member Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation has one of the longest-running Indian gaming operations in San Diego County, dating to card-room and bingo parlors in the early to mid-1980s.
After operating throughout the '90s as the smallest of three East County video-slot casinos, Sycuan has expanded since 2000 into one of the largest Indian casinos in California, with 2,000 slot machines, 85 card tables and many other amenities.
Covering more than 300,000 square feet, Sycuan Casino draws an average of about 12,000 customers a day mostly from the San Diego region and primarily from East County, according to its top executives.
This is the type of dysfunctional behaviour at these places. Most of it is "covered up".
There does not appear to be any disfunction here. Unless the story is not accurate.
I'd wait for the coronor's report. And hope the doctor knows what he's doing.
Judging from the evidence so far, I wouldn't jump to kneejerk "casino" conclusions.
It was 60 degrees, his father was in the car with him, while they waited for the mother to come out.
The fact that it was a casino doesn't make it any more horrific than if they were waiting in the car outside the mall or the hair salon.
Could be as simple as minor carbon monoxide poisoning...that might be why Dad was asleep (although waking back up on his own makes that seem less likely).
I might be wrong, but something sounds fishy about the father's account.
However, I don't know what to make of it absent additional facts.
The poor 6 mo. old!
Not enough information in this story to draw any conclusions at all.
Wait until Grissom gets back to us with the straight dope...
Same age as my little grandson. God help the people who do these kinds of things. I can't even begin to imagine.
"Baby shoes for sale, used once."