Crime and Courts

Father Arrested for Murdering His Infant Girl in University City Townhouse: San Diego Police

Thirty-seven-year-old Jaime Santillanes faces charges of murder and abuse of a child under 8 years old resulting in death, according to SDPD

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Nine days after she died, San Diego police said a 7-week-old's father is being charged with her killing.

The incident began on March 18 shortly after 10 p.m. when 911 operators got a call about an infant not breathing at a townhouse in the 3700 block of La Jolla Village Drive in the University City neighborhood of San Diego. First-responders from San Diego Fire Rescue and city police showed up at the residence soon after and began communicating with the girl's parents, including her father, 37-year-old Jaime Santillanes.

The baby, who investigators later determined "had sustained serious traumatic internal injuries that were indicative of physical child abuse," was taken outside to an ambulance and brought to nearby Rady Childen's Hospital for treatment, where she succumbed to her injuries on March 21.

"Detectives from the San Diego Police Department’s Child Abuse Unit began an investigation into determining who was responsible for the care and custody of the infant and how she sustained her injuries," San Diego police stated in a news release issued Monday afternoon.

In that same news release, police said that detectives determined the infant's father had inflicted fatal injuries upon his child, whose identity is being withheld pending the notification of family members.

Santillanes, who is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds, was arrested on the afternoon of March 22 and faces charges of murder and abuse of a child under 8 years old resulting in death, according to SDPD.

In court for an arraignment on Monday, Santillanes entered a not-guilty plea. He is due back in court for bail-review hearing on April 10.

Neighbors are stunned that a father is now accused of taking the life of his own baby daughter.

"Sometimes you could snap I guess, but taking it out on a small baby — that's insane," said neighbor Mihai Azimioara.

Neighbors on both sides of Santillanes' home said they never heard any arguing or loud commotion coming from the unit. One neighbor who lived next to the family for the past few years described them as very reserved, yet respectful.

"They seem to be very family-oriented and very considerate. I don't know how that could happen, but my heart goes out," Azimioara said.

San Diego Police is urging anybody with information about the case to call (619) 531-2293. Tips can also be called in anonymously to Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

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