A Taft man accused of killing his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter will now be charged with murder. Trinity Hanna was declared dead at San Joaquin Community Hospital Tuesday night and an autopsy shows her death was a homicide.
The coroner has ruled that the cause of death was blunt-force trauma to the head and abdomen and the manner of death is homicide, clearing the way for the suspect, 26-year-old Eric Foster, to be charged with murder.
Deputies said Trinity had suspicious injuries when she showed up at the emergency room. She was declared dead by ER doctors.
Deputies said during their investigation they questioned Foster, Trinity's mother's live-in boyfriend.
"Detectives were able to develop probable cause that led them to believe that Eric Foster was responsible for injuries that had been sustained by the little girl," Kern County Sheriffs Office Spokesman Ray Pruitt said.
A check of court records shows Foster has a lengthy criminal record, including charges for drugs, domestic violence and drunken driving.
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Deputies said they dont think drugs played a role in Trinity's death.
The girl's mom, Angela Vickrey, was not arrested in the case.
We have spoken to the victims mother. She is considered a witness at this point. She has been cooperative," Pruitt said.
Child Protective Services said they cant discuss the case now, but because this is a child death case, they may be able to release some information in the future in accordance with the relatively new SB39 law.
Trinity had been in the hospital in the weeks before her death to be treated for a scalding burn. Both social services and the sheriff's office wont say what if any involvement they had in that case, but it could be a troubling sign that there was a pattern of abuse in the home before Trinity died.
In general terms, if a parent or guardian knowingly places a child in a dangerous situation, there is a possibility that the parent or guardian could be charged with child endangerment, at some point," Pruitt said.
Foster declined requests for a jailhouse interview. He was set to be arraigned Friday on eight felonies related to Trinity's death, but with the murder charge being filed, his arraignment could be delayed.
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