San Diego

Mother's Boyfriend Arrested in Death of Alpine Toddler: SDSO

Wiliey Foster, 26, is suspected in the homicide of 18-month-old Leah Brown-Meza

Investigators said Friday an arrest has been made in the case of an 18-month-old baby girl found dead in an Alpine motorhome: the boyfriend of the toddler's mother.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO) confirmed that Wiliey Foster, 26, was arrested by homicide detectives and the Fugitive Task Force in connection with the death of Leah Brown-Meza.

On Tuesday, at around 12:05 p.m., the tot was found not breathing in a motorhome parked on a property in the 300 block of Hunter Lane. The girl's 21-year-old mother told deputies she woke up to find Leah unresponsive and called authorities for help. Paramedics tried to revive the toddler, but she was later pronounced dead.

Investigators said the toddler had injuries on her body; it is unclear if those injuries -- which officials did not detail -- are related to her death.

Lt. Kenneth Nelson, with the SDSO's Homicide Detail,said Foster's parents live at a house on Hunter Lane. The motorhome where Leah and her mother were staying was parked at the property. Nelson said investigators are still trying to determine whether Foster lived in the motorhome with his girlfriend and her daughter or if he was staying at the main house where his parents live.

Foster was arrested at the Hunter Lane home just before 8 a.m. Friday.

Nelson said investigators suspect Foster in the death of the toddler based on evidence found at the scene, statements made by witnesses and the injuries found on Leah's body.

The SDSO said he will be booked into San Diego Central Jail on one count of murder. Nelson said additional charges could be filed at a later time.

According to court documents obtained by NBC 7, Foster has a criminal record. In August 2012, he was convicted of felony burglary and receiving stolen property. He was sentenced in September 2012 to three years of probation. He served 180 days behind bars and was ordered to pay $17,774 in restitution.

NBC 7 spoke with neighbors in Alpine Friday who said they had no idea anyone was living in the motorhome parked at the home on Hunter Lane. Many neighbors said they were heartbroken to hear of baby Leah’s death.

“I think I can speak for all of my neighbors: we feel sad for the baby, and families, and everything,” Alpine resident Leonard Dover said. “It’s a sad day.”

The autopsy report for Leah has been sealed, but SDSO officials said her manner of death was classified as a homicide. The toddler died from multiple blunt force trauma but no further details were immediately released.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can call the SDSO's Homicide Detail at (858) 974-2321, or after hours at (858) 565-5200. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477 and remain anonymous.

NBC 7 confirmed that Leah’s family planned to gather at dusk Friday at the home of the toddler’s maternal grandfather and hold special vigil to pay tribute to the little girl.

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