ANAHEIM — A 4-month-old boy died after he bled to death from numerous bites he suffered from a pet rat while he slept with his parents in the family station wagon, Anaheim police said Friday.
The rat, which was running free inside the car, bit Steven J. Giguere Jr.'s left forearm and hand Thursday morning in the parking lot of a camping supply store, police said. The infant's mother awoke about 2 a.m. and realized that the child was not breathing, said Lt. Vince Howard.
When police arrived, they believed that the rat may have bitten the baby after he died, but an autopsy showed that the infant bled to death because of severe bites, said deputy coroner Bill King.
"I can't remember having a child die as a result of a (rodent) bite, so I'd say it's extremely rare," said King, a 17-year veteran of the coroner's office.
Juvenile investigators arrested the boy's parents--Steven James Giguere, 27, and Kathleen Giguere, 30, whom police said are unemployed transients--on suspicion of felony child endangerment.
Coroner's officials said they had several questions about the death. "I would think that the kid would be screaming because we're talking about sharp teeth on the arm and that's got to wake you up," King said. "At this point, there is no explanation about why the family was not aroused."
The doctor who performed the autopsy did not see any evidence that the child was bitten or abused before, King said.
Steven and Kathleen Giguere were being held in the Anaheim City Jail in lieu of $10,000 bond each, Howard said. Juvenile investigators said they expected to present their case to the district attorney's office Monday.
Times staff writer David Reyes contributed to this report.