Breaking News Blog

Thursday, Nov 21 2013 04:42 PM

Man arrested in connection with dead toddler brought aboard bus

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    By Gregory D. Cook / Tehachapi News

    The body of a 2-year-old boy is prepared for transport by a Kern County Coroner official after the boy was discovered not to be breathing on a Regional Transit Bus Wednesday, Nov. 20 in California City. Kern County Sheriff's detectives are investigating the death.

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The live-in boyfriend of the mother of a dead 2-year-old boy brought aboard a bus outside California City has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Matthew Berry, 26, is also being held on suspicion on assault on a child causing death, Kern County sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt said. He said Berry was arrested Thursday afternoon and likely will be arraigned Monday.

The coroner's office identified the toddler as Pharaoh Vanvactor, and said the boy died from blunt force trauma.

Berry brought the boy aboard a Kern Regional Transit bus 10 miles outside California City Wednesday morning. The bus driver noticed the boy wasn't breathing and radioed his dispatcher, who alerted authorities.

Berry was detained and the child pronounced dead at 7:26 a.m. when the bus stopped at the downtown intersection of Neuralia Road and California City Boulevard.

Pruitt said the toddler had suffered obvious signs of trauma. He said the boy's mother lives in the 8300 block of Eucalyptus Avenue in California City, and it's unclear what the man and the toddler were doing so far outside the city.

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