‘A Little Angel': Family Mourns Tot Who Contracted E. Coli at Fair

The toddler who died after contracting E. coli at the 2019 San Diego County Fair has been identified by family members as Jedidiah King Cabezuela.

The young boy, nicknamed “Jedi,” came into contact with animals while visiting the fair on June 15, according to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). He became ill on June 19 and was hospitalized with a confirmed case of E. coli.

Health officials said the boy developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) while hospitalized from severe complication of the E. coli infection. Jedi died on June 24.

Family members held a fundraiser on Saturday at Rosie O’ Grady Irish Pub and Grill in Normal Heights to raise funds for funeral expenses.

The great uncle of Jedidiah, Edward Sandford, said Jedi will be missed.

“He lit up the room when he walked in,” said Sandford. “I’m remembering him with a big blue ball in his hand throwing it at me as hard as he can. He’s upstairs now, a little angel.”

Sandford said he was at the hospital with Jedi hours before he passed. He said it was a painful time for the toddler and believes he is now in a better place.

“I said a little prayer and told the Lord, ‘You got your hands full,’” Sandford said.

The fundraiser was followed by a raffle where local businesses donated items. Family, friends, and community members all attended the event.

“I had no idea that this was going to be such a rousing chorus of support from the entire community. We have over a hundred of raffle prizes donated by local businesses,” said Harpo Mark Deoguidice, a family friend.

Three other children ranging from ages 9 to 13 also became ill with E. coli. Those children were not hospitalized. HHSA officials said all four children had visited the San Diego County Fair between June 8 and June 15.

Dr. Eric McDonald, medical director of the San Diego County HHSA’s Epidemiology and Immunization Services Branch, said Jedi became ill with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli 0157.

Jedi’s case is still being investigated by county health officials. McDonald said Saturday the boy’s forthcoming autopsy report should yield more information about the infection he contracted and the complications with HUS.

The family has set up a Go Fund Me page to help pay for further expenses.

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