Gerardo Mendoza Ordaz, a 42-year-old California father, has been arrested following a bizarre and disturbing incident on Sunday night that resulted in the death of his 4-year-old daughter. According to police, the California father is believed to have drowned the little girl in the baptismal font of a northern California church.
Investigators say that Gerardo Mendoza Ordaz of Healdsburg had been at his local St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on Sunday with his 4-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son. The trio ended up at a nearby police station with Gerardo Mendoza Ordaz screaming for help near the back entrance, his deceased 4-year-old daughter in his arms, reports ABC News.
What’s more, according to authorities, when he was discovered yelling for help at the police station, California father Gerardo Mendoza-Ordaz was completely nude. His 9-year-old son was reportedly only partially clothed, while the dead 4-year-old girl was fully dressed and dripping with water. Healdsburg police say that the family had been at the church immediately before showing up.
The Los Angeles Times reports that local police investigating the girl’s death think that she drowned, and they do not believe that her drowning was accidental. Investigators haven’t revealed what makes them think that Gerardo Mendoza Ordaz deliberately killed his daughter, but they seem fairly certain that whatever happened to the 4-year-old was deliberate. Healdsburg police Chief Kevin Burke spoke briefly to the media regarding the suspected murder.
“They were the only ones in the church at the time. The church leaves the doors open late on Sunday.”
Law enforcement describes the church as being just blocks from the police station, and add that the facility keeps the doors unlocked late every Sunday evening. What’s more, the baptismal pool where Mendoza Ordaz is believed to have drowned his daughter is always kept filled with approximately a foot of water.
Police say that Gerardo Mendoza Ordaz and his kids had been seen at the sanctuary of the Catholic church earlier in the evening. At just about 8:30 p.m. local time, the family appeared at the police station, the California father nude, holding his daughter’s lifeless body in his arms. Police allege that sometime immediately before coming to the police station, Mendoza Ordaz deliberately and forcibly drowned the little girl in the baptismal pool.
When police discovered the California father and his children in the back of the police department’s parking lot, they report that they attempted to resuscitate the 4-year-old girl, and ultimately transported her to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. An autopsy is still pending, but investigators believe that her cause of death was drowning, a drowning that law enforcement have labeled “murder.”
The pastor of the church reached out via the Diocese’s website after the news of the death was made public. Father Sean Rogers called the suspected slaying a “tragedy,” asking his congregation to “pray for the family” in the aftermath of the California girl’s untimely death.
“Sunday night there was tragedy in the church; a little girl lost her life. When police finish the investigation we will know more. In the meantime, please pray for the family, and the parish community.”
While the suspected murder was initially investigated by the Healdsburg, California police department, eventually state crime scene investigators were called in to assist in processing the scene of the first suspected murder in the town in eight years. According to the police chief, the local department simply didn’t have the staffing resources to manage the scene where California man Gerardo Mendoza Ordaz is suspected to have murdered his daughter.
“It’s a very complicated investigation. We’ve had staffing up all night. It’s a very challenging and tragic case.”
Gerardo Mendoza Ordaz has been booked into the Sonoma County Jail and charged with suspicion of murder. The California man is expected to appear in court sometime Tuesday.
Ordaz was booked on suspicion of murder and was being held without bail in the Sonoma County jail.
Prosecutors charged him with one count of murder, and he is scheduled to appear Tuesday afternoon in court for his arraignment, according to jail records.
[Featured Image by Sonoma County Jail]