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Lockwood Valley man arrested in baby son's death

March 07, 2009|Catherine Saillant

A 32-year-old Lockwood Valley man has been arrested on suspicion of beating his infant son to death, authorities said.

Jayson Schimmel was taken into custody Thursday by Ventura County sheriff's deputies, three days after his 2 1/2 -month-old son, Steven, died under suspicious circumstances, authorities said.

Schimmel is in Ventura County Jail on $505,000 bail and is set to be arraigned on Monday. The baby's 19-year-old mother, who was not named, was interviewed but not charged, officials said.

Deputies responded to a call at 1 a.m. Monday from Schimmel's home in the 17500 block of Maple Trail reporting that the baby was not breathing, said Capt. Ross Bonfiglio, a sheriff's spokesman.

Dispatchers gave the parents resuscitation instructions while waiting for rescuers to reach the home in Lockwood Valley, a sparsely populated mountain community west of Frazier Park, he said.

Rescuers tried to revive Steven and then took him by ambulance to a nearby ranger station, the sheriff's spokesman said. The baby was airlifted to Kern Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Bonfiglio said investigators were initially told that Steven awoke crying that night and that he went limp and stopped breathing during a bottle feeding.

An autopsy performed by the Ventura County coroner's office determined that he had died of blunt-force head injuries.

The infant's body had multiple bruises and fractures, a finding consistent with Battered Child Syndrome, the coroner's office found. Bonfiglio said investigators believe that the baby had been abused for at least two weeks before his death.

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catherine.saillant@ latimes.com

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