Rialto Father Arrested for Homicide After 5-Year-Old Dies Due to Suspected Child Abuse

A 5-year-old boy died due to suspected child abuse on Tuesday, and the man charged with the crime is the boy's own father, Miguel Castaneda Sr., 29.

The boy was found unresponsive in a San Bernardino County home, according to the Rialto Police Department. Police responded to a call on the 1100 Block of South Althea just before 2:30 a.m. The boy was found not breathing, so officers performed life saving measures until the Rialto Fire Department arrived. The child was then taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Upon further investigation by police, it was revealed the child suffered injuries from suspected child abuse that had occurred as recently as Tuesday morning. Castaneda was contacted and interviewed by police and was arrested for homicide and felony child abuse, according to a press release from Rialto Police Department.

Rialto Police said the boy was visiting his father from Texas, where the child lived with his mother. Investigators said that four other children live in the home, whom police said range in age from small children to teenagers, and Castaneda is only the biological father of one of the four children. The other three children belong to Castaneda's current wife.

Police were called to the home in May, which they describe as a referral from Child Protective Services to investigate possible child abuse. That call and visit by police came before the deceased 5-year-old came to visit, so the call involved another child. Investigators did not reveal which child was the subject of the earlier house call, but police officers did not find any crimes at the time.

It remains unclear if the call early to police early Tuesday morning was related to the 5-year-old boy or the boy's father, who was booked at West Valley Detention Center and is currently behind bars.

The boy's stepmother called police. She is part of the investigation but at this point is not being considered a suspect, police said. 

The Rialto Police Department is urging anyone with information regarding this case to call Detective Ralph Ballew at (909) 820-8055 or e-mail at Rballew@rialtopd.com.

Contact Us