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Man arrested in fatal stabbing of toddler


Man arrested in fatal stabbing of toddler

18-month-old pronounced dead at scene; legal guardian in custody as probe widens

November 23, 2004

Cecilia M. Vega

San Fransisco Chronicle

UPDATE: An 18-month-old Richmond baby allegedly stabbed to death Monday by his legal guardian was identified this morning as Charles McEntire III, Contra Costa County Deputy Coroner Bill Brinks said today.

A Richmond man was arrested Monday on suspicion of stabbing to death an 18-month-old boy in his care, police said, the second child to be killed at home in the city in the past month.

Charles Thomas McEntire, 57, is the toddler's legal guardian, but it was unclear whether he is the boy's foster or adoptive father, Sgt. Enos Johnson said.

Police were also questioning McEntire's wife and her 19-year-old son Monday evening, although Johnson said it was too soon to tell whether charges would be filed against them.

The slaying of the toddler, whose name was not released, came after the Oct. 23 beating death of a 14-month-old girl that remains unsolved. The girl's mother and her mother's boyfriend are considered suspects.

"We're investigating the scene as a homicide," Johnson said of Monday's death.

The California Highway Patrol transferred a man's 911 cell-phone call to Richmond police about 10:15 a.m. The man told dispatchers there was a domestic disturbance and that a child had been hurt at the triplex on the 500 block of South 30th Street, Johnson said.

Police arrived and discovered the boy "suffering from trauma to the upper chest," Johnson said. Paramedics pronounced the child dead at the scene.

The three adults in the house at the time were taken to the Police Department for questioning. McEntire was arrested early Monday evening.

"We believe that everything happened right around the time we got the call," Johnson said.

An autopsy is scheduled for today.

Many neighbors who live near the light blue triplex off Cutting Boulevard said they had no idea a toddler lived in the upper unit.

Malik Shabazz, 59, said he went outside Monday morning to check on the commotion from police cars and saw a young man in his late teens or early 20s being taken into custody by authorities.

"I heard him crying out, saying 'They killed my brother,' then police put him in the car," Shabazz said.

Johnson said he did not believe police had been called to the home previously to investigate any child-abuse related calls.

A month ago today, Richmond police were called to a home in the Iron Triangle neighborhood where 14-month-old Nora Linda Ocampo had been beaten to death. Emergency crews were unable to revive the girl and an autopsy later revealed she had died of blows to the head.

Her 28-year-old mother, also named Nora Ocampo, who called 911 to report her daughter was having trouble breathing, is considered a suspect, as is the mother's boyfriend, Cesar Paez-Anaya.

Paez-Anaya was arrested earlier this month and charged with domestic violence against his girlfriend, the baby's mother.

Monday's death shook neighbors, many of whom gathered near the two-story home where all the shades were drawn Monday afternoon.

Azalee Henderson lives across the street from the house, but said she had never seen a toddler there.

"It's just so sad," she said.

E-mail Cecilia M. Vega at cvega@sfchronicle.com.

2004 Nov 23