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Shaken baby dies, deal means dad can’t be charged with his death

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POSTED April 22, 2009 3:55 a.m.
A Manteca baby, who was violently shaken in September of 2007, died Monday at the home of foster parents in Ripon.

The father, Michael Zamarripa, 26, is currently serving a 12-year term in state prison on a plea agreement that was made on Aug. 25 of last year that he could not be charged with murder if the infant died from injuries sustained by his shaking him.

Manteca Police Detective Sergeant Tony Souza said the father was arrested Aug. 28, 2007 at his residence in the 1000 block of Topaz Court where he and the mother had been living with a friend.  The father was charged with child abuse and great bodily harm – with an enhancement of great bodily harm to a child under 5.

Souza said the shaking took place when the mother was out with a friend and Zamarripa was watching the child.  A friend in the home reportedly witnessed the shaking and told the dad to knock it off.

Souza added that when the mother returned home she noticed the then two- month old-infant was not responding normally to her and they took him to the emergency room at Doctors Hospital.  Early the next morning the baby was airlifted by Life Flight to the Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera.

After a lengthy hospital stay the child was placed in foster care with a family in Ripon where he continued to be fed with a feeding tube, a police spokesman said.

Manteca detective Steve Beerman, an investigator close to the case, said, “It’s remarkable that we have people in this area who are willing to take on children with such big challenges and help out families in tragedy.  That was a big burden for them, and it was great we found someone to take that on.”

The baby’s maternal grandmother demonstrated her concern reportedly visiting the child every weekend in Ripon.  Authorities said both grandparents visited the child.

An autopsy was scheduled to be performed on Wednesday morning to confirm the exact cause of death.   Services are pending for the child next Monday at Deegan Memorial Chapel in Ripon.
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