SACRAMENTO - A mother returned home from the store Tuesday to find her 2-year-old son dead in their apartment while in the care of a babysitter.
The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department said the toddler died at the apartment in the Arden-Arcade area on the 2900 block of Watt Avenue. The coroner's office classified his death as a homicide.
UPDATE: Toddler's death considered homicide; babysitter arrested on unrelated charges
Neighbors said the mother Tiphanie returned home to find her child unresponsive.
"We heard her freaking out, crying screaming, 'my baby is dead,'" next-door neighbor Amber Gloria said.
"He wasn't waking up. So she was splattering water and he was gray and had purple lips," neighbor Linda Hernandez said. "I started performing CPR on him and he vomited. But he didn't make it."
The toddler, identified by neighbors as Will, also had marks on his torso.
"That kid had lots of bruises on his body that aren't explained," Hernandez said.
"It's just really sad. It's like he's my daughter's age; my daughter is two," Gloria said.
According to neighbors, Will and his 5-year-old brother, who has autism, were in the care of a babysitter. The 35-year-old man, who neighbors identified as Sam, lives in the same apartment complex.
Friends said Will's mother got a phone call from Sam.
"Sam called Tiphanie to tell her that Will had fallen off the refrigerator and he had bruises," Hernandez said.
On Wednesday night, Sam was unavailable for comment. His mother said Sam could not have hurt the toddler. She said he is talking to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.
An investigation is underway involving child abuse detectives, according to the sheriff's department. The cause of the child's death has not been released. An autopsy is pending.
Suzanne Phan, firstname.lastname@example.org