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Ventura County

Clues Sought in Toddler's Death

Investigation: Oxnard police will question residents of a mobile home park where the child was hit by a vehicle.

September 17, 2002|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Oxnard police will go door-to-door at a mobile home park today to question residents about a toddler who was struck and killed by a vehicle over the weekend, authorities said Monday.

Isbel Gonzales, 20 months old, was hit by a vehicle about 4:30 p.m. Saturday outside her family's home in the Mobile Home Lodge, 1301 Commercial Ave., police said.

An autopsy showed the child died from blunt-force head injuries, said James Baroni, a senior deputy coroner's investigator.

"Nobody so far has come forward to say they heard anything or saw anything directly related to the crash," Oxnard Officer David Villanueva said. "The family of the girl is incensed."

Villanueva said at least 10 officers will fan out through the south Oxnard neighborhood today to question residents.

Authorities said they are certain someone in the mobile home park knows what occurred but may be concerned about getting involved.

"Accidents happen. We just need to find out what happened," Villanueva said.

The mobile home park, which has signs alerting drivers about a 5 mph speed limit, is heavily traveled by vehicles and pedestrians, police said. Residents have complained that drivers regularly speed in the area.

At the time of the child's death, several residents were hosting parties in anticipation of the televised boxing match between Fernando Vargas, formerly of Oxnard, and Oscar De La Hoya, police said.

During their preliminary investigation Saturday, police were told about a sedan seen in the area after the girl was struck, Villanueva said.

The sedan and its owner were found Saturday, authorities said. While the car's owner has denied being involved in the accident, the sedan was impounded, investigators said.

Villanueva said the car was undergoing an inspection and tests at the county's crime lab.

Authorities hope to determine whether the vehicle had been involved in a recent accident or contained physical evidence from the child.

Test results could take several days, police said.

Immediately after the child's death, police were not certain of the cause of the injuries, primarily because there were no witnesses and no direct evidence.

Authorities now believe the toddler was hit by a vehicle.

Isbel is survived by her parents, a sister, 7, and a brother, 4.

Police are helping the family secure financial assistance for both the funeral and counseling, Villanueva said.

Anyone with information on the accident has been urged to call Oxnard police at 385-7750.

Callers can remain anonymous, police said.

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