BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Murder suspect Mathew Berry made rambling and inconsistent comments to investigators regarding what happened the day his girlfriend's 2-year-old son was killed.
Berry, 26, claimed in redacted Kern County Sheriff's Office reports that became available Thursday that the toddler, Pharaoh Van Vactor, suffered fatal injuries after flying out of his car seat and hitting the dashboard of Berry's truck while the two were off-roading in the desert outside California City on Nov. 19. Berry said the truck became stuck in the sand and he performed CPR on Pharaoh but was unable to go for help and the boy eventually died.
Investigators told Berry his story didn't match with the injuries found on the boy. They told Berry the child suffered bleeding on the brain caused by blunt force trauma, abdominal bleeding and bruising on his body from head to toe.
They also told Berry there was tearing to the child's anus. The reports say Berry chuckled upon hearing that.
The coroner's office reported that the injuries to the boy were recent.
A bus driver came upon Pharaoh and Berry lying next to a road outside California City the morning of Nov. 20. The driver realized the child was dead after the two boarded the bus, and he alerted authorities.
Berry refused to perform CPR on the child during the short bus ride despite a bus dispatcher pleading with him to do so. He refused to let anyone near the boy.
It wasn't until Berry saw police waiting at a California City intersection that he began to perform CPR, the reports say. Pharaoh was pronounced dead at the scene and Berry was arrested.
Berry, Pharaoh and the child's mother, Adrianna Brown, had spent Nov. 19 running errands together. Berry wanted to pick up a tool at the Home Depot in Mojave, but Brown asked him to drop her off at their California City home first.
He asked if Pharaoh could come with him for the trip, and she agreed. They were supposed to return that evening, but Berry said he decided to go off-roading instead of heading to the store. Investigators found his vehicle stuck in the desert, and used a tractor to remove it.
The next day Brown's son was dead and her boyfriend in jail. Berry's next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 10.