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Police contend baby’s death was murder

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POSTED January 14, 2014 10:01 p.m.

A 19-month-old baby is dead and Manteca Police investigators believe that the mother’s 21-year-old boyfriend is to blame.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, officers dispatched to Doctor’s Hospital of Manteca to investigate possible charges of aggravated child abuse arrived to discover an unresponsive 19-month-old toddler inside of the hospital’s emergency room. She died from massive internal injuries shortly thereafter.

A quick investigation determined that the child was brought to the hospital by 21-year-old Longino Lamont Tolefree Jr. He is the boyfriend of the young victim’s mother. Together the couple has a 5-month old. 

From what detectives have been able to piece together, Tolefree called a friend on Saturday afternoon and said that the 19-month-old was having medical issues and that he didn’t know what to do. The friend arrived at the home – on the 400 block of Pioneer Drive – and had the friend transport both himself and the ailing child to the hospital.

An autopsy was performed on Monday which prompted the medical examiner to list the official cause of death as homicide. Manteca detectives were then able to secure an arrest warrant and Tolefree was taken into custody without incident at his Lathrop worksite.

He was eventually booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on charges of child abuse on a child under the age of 8 causing death, the infliction of injury to a child under the age of 8 causing death by a guardian and corporal injury to a child under the age of 8.

Tolefree is currently being held on a $1.05 million bond and is scheduled to appear today in Department 1 of the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court.

A similar situation in 2007 ultimately led to similar consequences – a young child being cared for by the mother’s boyfriend was presented at the emergency room, and an autopsy determined that abuse was ultimately the cause of death.

In the case of the 19-month-old, Manteca Police Sergeant Tony Souza said that the injuries were “severe” and that abuse was suspected when the child was brought in to the hospital.

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