The death Saturday of a 20-month-old Davis boy is the city’s fourth homicide in less than a year’s time, and the second in four months to involve a small child.
Cameron Morrison was pronounced dead at 1:24 p.m. after being removed from life support at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, an official there said Saturday night. The boy had been hospitalized since late Wednesday night, when his distraught mother, her unconscious son in her car, flagged down an ambulance near the family’s Olive Drive residence.
The resulting investigation led to the arrest of a Sacramento man, 21-year-old Darnell Dangelo Dorsey, a Sacramento resident with a history of arrests for robbery, assault and battery, according to court records in Yolo and Sacramento counties.
Davis Assistant Police Chief Darren Pytel described Dorsey as the boyfriend of the child’s mother, though he is not the boy’s biological father.
He remains in custody at the Yolo County Jail, where as of Saturday he was being held in lieu of $1 million bail on a felony child-endangerment charge. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday in Yolo Superior Court, at which time the charges against him may be revised.
“We are conducting a homicide investigation and working with the District Attorney’s Office on the charges,” Pytel said Saturday night. Coroner’s officials are expected to conduct an autopsy early this week to determine the boy’s cause and manner of death.
Pytel would not release additional information about the nature of the boy’s injuries or how he received them, citing the ongoing investigation.
Efforts to reach family members Friday at their residences in an Olive Drive mobile-home community were unsuccessful. No one answered the door at the mother’s home — where a child’s bike with training wheels hung from the railing of a wooden deck — nor at the grandparents’ house across the road.
A man walking in the area said he was a relative of the family but declined to comment about the situation.
“I’m not willing to talk about it,” he said.
Neighbors, however, described a grim scene at the mobile home park on Thursday, with yellow crime-scene tape erected around the family’s homes and police detectives going door to door in search of information.
“Everyone was freaking out yesterday, wondering what was going on,” said one woman, who declined to give her name. She said there had been considerable “family tension” among the boy’s relatives in recent months, with “a lot of fighting, a lot of arguing, a lot of yelling.”
The woman said the victim had an older sibling, also a boy, “but the baby we didn’t see that much.” She also noted that the boys’ grandfather appeared to dote on the children, and was often seen playing with them on their scooters or on a backyard swing set.
“He must be devastated right now. I can’t even imagine,” the neighbor said. “It’s just so heartbreaking.”
The woman said Dorsey goes by the nickname “Big D” and had been staying at the mobile home park for about a year and a half.
Court records show Dorsey — who also has used the middle names Deangelo and Bryant — has a criminal history in Yolo County dating back to 2009, when he was charged as an adult with stealing a golf cart from Davis High School, then robbing a man of his wallet, cell phone and laptop on Hanover Drive.
Dorsey pleaded no contest to a second-degree robbery count, for which he was sentenced to three years of probation, according to court documents. A 2010 case charged him with engaging in delinquent conduct in Texas and being a fugitive from justice; court papers indicate he was extradited back to that state at the time.
Trouble surfaced again in 2011 — first in July with an arrest for assault, battery and false imprisonment, and again in October after he allegedly engaged in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, court records show. A plea agreement entered that November resulted in a 30-day jail term and three years of probation.
A March 2013 arrest for assault and battery in Sacramento County was eventually dismissed, according to online records.
Dorsey’s latest arrest comes just four months after that of 29-year-old Aquelin Crystal Talamantes, who is accused of drowning her daughter Tatiana Garcia, 5, at the family’s Glide Drive home, then driving to a relative’s home in Sacramento with her daughter’s body in the trunk of her car.
This latest case also shares similarities with that of another child homicide that occurred 20 years ago this month — that of Emanuel Bermudez, a 14-month old boy who died Jan. 6, 1994, as a result of severe beatings inflicted by his father, Manuel Valadez Bermudez, at the family’s Cranbrook Court apartment.
Convicted of second-degree murder, Manuel Bermudez continues to serve a life sentence at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville. He was denied parole in 2012 and won’t be eligible for another hearing until 2017.
The past year’s four homicides also include those of local attorney Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, whose brutal stabbing deaths on April 14, 2013, resulted in the arrest of local teen Daniel Marsh three months later.
Marsh, 16, is scheduled to be tried as an adult for the murders in March. He has pleaded not guilty.
— Reach Lauren Keene at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene