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Man Arrested in Connection to 2-year-old's Fentanyl Overdose Death

KCSO announces father's arrest. Probable cause report reveals child was dead for approximately 22 hours before being found.
Ezekiel Rivera
Posted at 5:53 PM, Jan 24, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The father of two-year-old Ezekiel Rivera has been arrested in connection to the toddler's death on June 5th last year in Northeast Bakersfield. The Kern County Sheriff's office announced Raul Rivera was arrested Wednesday morning for the alleged homicide. According to the probable cause declaration, Rivera snorted fentanyl in a room that was accessible to his children before Ezekiel's death.

During the investigation, video surveillance from the home showed the child go into that room and Rivera carry his child's body out approximately 14 hours later. He then returned to the room with his body, which appeared to be lifeless according to the documents. It was 22 hours later, when the toddler's grandfather found his body and called authorities.

According to probable cause submitted to the District Attorney’s office, Rivera knew the dangers of fentanyl and his failure to protect his children from exposure to the drug, and preventing medical aid by concealing his body in his room is why he is being charged with first degree murder and willful cruelty to a child. Rivera is scheduled to be in court Friday afternoon.

Also in this case, a claim was previously filed against the Kern County Sheriff’s Office by the toddler's mother. She says the sheriff's office put him in harm's way by not removing him from his father's custody.