Police were called out to an apartment complex on Pocket Road in Sacramento after Aquelin Talamantes, 29, of Davis, was seen with a 4-year-old boy, but not her 5-year-old daughter, Tatianna Garcia.
When police arrived they found the 4-year-old boy unharmed, but Tatianna was discovered in the trunk. After officers attempted to resuscitate the girl, she would be pronounced dead a short time later at the hospital.
According to Davis Assistant Police Chief Darren Pytel, around 9 am on Thursday a Davis police officer was working traffic in the area of Glide Dr., due to complaints about vehicles driving at excessive rates of speed within blocks of Pioneer Elementary school.
The officer would made a traffic stop of Ms. Talamantes, but released the driver. The officer stopped in front of the mother’s home to continue working traffic. The mother came outside and asked the officer several questions about why the officer was there.
The behavior of the mother prompted the officer to call for another officer to come out so they could do a welfare check at the home. According to Assistant Police Chief Pytel, the officer was aware at that time that there was a small child there.
The officers would speak to the mother and another adult relative for about 30 to 40 minutes. At that time, they determined that there was no sign of abuse or neglect, and they determined the home to be clean.
The officers observed the children laughing and they appeared to be cared for. The officers would discuss resources for the family, but then left.
The police would then receive a call several hours later from an adult relative. She arrived at the house after being gone for some time. The 5-year-old victim was not seen. The mother then left the house with the 4-year-old. That prompted a search.
The mother arrived at the Pocket Road address of another adult relative, and Sacramento Police were called to the scene.
Ms. Talamantes has been arrested and is in custody at Yolo County Jail. The investigation is ongoing.
The Sacramento Bee reports that Ms. Talamantes has only had one minor brush with the law on her record. In 2007, “she was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor disorderly conduct while under the influence of a drug in Solano County; the outcome of that case was not immediately clear Friday.”
She also has a traffic violation in Yolo County.
At this point, what happened is unclear. According to Darren Pytel, the Sacramento Police Department began the investigation and, for continuity’s sake, they continued with the investigation.
However, it is believed that the crime began in Davis.
“This is a truly sad, tragic event,” Assistant Chief Pytel said. “It will take some time to complete the entire investigation and get more firm details into everything that led up to this and why it happened.”
The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office has not determined a cause of death, pending autopsy results.
Ms. Talamantes will be arraigned on Monday at 1:30 at the Yolo County Courthouse.
The Davis Joint Unified School District sent out a notice to the community on Friday.
Jen McNeil, the district’s Prevention and Crisis Manager, wrote to parents, “We are deeply saddened and shocked by the news reported yesterday evening that a 5 year old female child died after being found non-responsive in the trunk of a car in Sacramento, CA. The media released the name of a parent and reported that the family lives in Davis near one of our elementary schools.”
“This is very distressing news. However, we want to advise our parent and staff community that it has been confirmed that the child was not connected to any of our schools and that the family was new to Davis,” she wrote. “As a precaution, staff at the closest elementary school was notified of the incident early this morning and the crisis response team convened at the site.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to inform our community about our crisis response plan as it relates to traumatic death. Each school site has a crisis response team composed of administrators, lead teachers, campus security, school mental health professionals, and administrative support personnel. Certain District Office staff participates on every school crisis response team,” she continued.
She added, “In the event of a traumatic death the team will convene and set forth enacting our response plan and protocols, which are based upon current and best practices in the field of crisis response. Our protocols involve specific and purposeful methods of disseminating information depending upon the nature of the incident and the age group of those included. We have planned emotional support strategies for staff, parents and students. We have guidelines and protocols to enable us to provide structure and support while returning to the regular school routine.”
After a long period without homicides, this is at least the fourth murder that has occurred in Davis in the last two years. In November of 2011, James Mings was involved in the killing of Kevin Seery.
More recently and relatively close in location, Daniel Marsh is alleged to have killed Oliver Northup and Claudia Maupin on Cowell Blvd.
Mr. Mings was convicted of attempted murder and will have a secondary trial in a few weeks. Mr. Marsh faces trial right now this fall, as well, after being held to answer following a preliminary hearing a few weeks ago.
—David M. Greenwald reporting