COSTA MESA — A Costa Mesa man was arrested on suspicion of murder Thursday after his 4-month-old daughter died of head injuries at Children's Hospital of Orange County, police said.
David M. Golub, 25, is suspected of inflicting the injuries that resulted in the death of his daughter, Dominique Angela Ann Golub, who was discovered unconscious Wednesday night by her mother, Dawn Pepe, said Costa Mesa police spokesman George Wilson.
"The mother came home from work and noticed that the baby was not reacting properly," Wilson said. Golub "told her that the baby had fallen off the sofa and hit her head," the spokesman added.
The couple then rushed the baby to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. Doctors there suspected child abuse and contacted police. The child was transferred to Children's Hospital in Orange, where she died at 11:30 a.m., Wilson said.
"After interviewing the child's parents, the investigation focused on the father as the person responsible for the child's injuries," Wilson said.
Neighbors at the six-unit apartment complex in the 300 block of Hamilton Street, where the couple moved a month ago, said they tried to comfort a grief-stricken Pepe.
"She was out here screaming and crying this morning, saying that her baby was dying," said neighbor Jim Easter, 29. "She was just hysterical."
Easter's wife, Tammy, comforted the 23-year-old mother before she returned to the hospital.
"I told her to think positive," said Tammy Easter, 28. "It's just such a sad situation. They looked like a young family who were just beginning."
The Easters said they frequently saw the couple taking the baby for a walk in her stroller.
"I'd see (Golub) strolling the baby around just as any father would," Jim Easter said.
But the couple's former landlord, Barbara Bruce, said that they had been having financial problems and were unable to pay the rent on a two-bedroom house in Costa Mesa that they rented from her seven months ago.
"They seemed to have a lot of bad luck, with one bad thing happening after another," Bruce said. "They showed up to rent the house with all their belongings in a U-Haul truck with no place to go, and my heart just went out to them."
Bruce said the couple agreed to move out at the beginning of January when they couldn't pay the rent.
"They had their problems, but that baby was just absolutely beautiful," Bruce said. "She had dark eyes and dark hair and looked just like a little China doll. She was adorable."
Bruce said the last time she visited the couple at the house, it was set up with baby furniture and toys.
Golub was being held at Costa Mesa City Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail. He was expected to be transferred to County Jail, police said.