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Woman arrested in killing of foster child

July 04, 2007|Tony Perry | Times Staff Writer

San Diego police arrested a 47-year-old woman Tuesday night on suspicion of killing a 2-year-old foster child in her care.

Linda Coleman, who lives in the Mountain View neighborhood, was booked into the Las Colinas women's jail on one count of murder, police said. She surrendered voluntarily, police said.

Malachi Roberts-McBride died Friday at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. He had been rushed there Wednesday night by paramedics. An autopsy Sunday revealed that the child suffered several bruises to his body and a "devastating" brain injury, police said. The cause of death was listed as blunt-force trauma.

Homicide detectives, after interviewing Coleman, concluded the child's injuries "were inconsistent with the version of events she presented," police said.

The initial investigation was conducted by child-abuse detectives. When the child's death appeared to be imminent, the case was switched to the homicide division.

San Diego County has more than 6,000 children in the foster-care program, second only to Los Angeles County. The average child waits three years before a permanent home is found.

tony.perry@latimes.com

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