Father Suspected of Drowning Daughter Inside Church

California Connection
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HEALDSBURG (AP) — Police in Northern California have arrested a man on suspicion of drowning his 4-year-old daughter in a baptismal pool in a Healdsburg church and then carrying her body to a nearby police station.

Healdsburg Police Lt. Matt Jenkins said Monday 42-year-old Gerardo Mendoza stood in the station’s back parking lot Sunday night and yelled for help as he held his daughter and another child, his son, stood next to him.

Jenkins says the three had just been at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in downtown Healdsburg.

The child was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Jenkins says an autopsy has been scheduled to determine the cause of death but investigators believe she drowned.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports the church is routinely left unlocked and has a sanctuary pool that is at least a foot deep.

The Santa Rosa Diocese did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

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