Preliminary Hearing Resumes for Man Accused of Toddler’s Death

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photo by Lauren King, Court Watch Intern
photo by Lauren King, Court Watch Intern

by Antoinnette Borbon

Today marked the second day of testimony in the preliminary examination for the state’s case against a man who is accused of beating his girlfriend’s toddler after she left for the gym.

Baby Cameron sustained fractured ribs, injury to the bladder, a lacerated liver and severe brain damage resulting in his death. Doctors explained to family members that the injuries were similar to those found in a motor vehicle accident.

Early in the morning of January 23, 2014, the Vanguard learned about a two-year-old baby who was taken to Sutter Davis Hospital the night before, after being found unresponsive when the mother returned home.

The woman’s boyfriend, Darnell Dorsey, was home with two children, the other being Dorsey’s child, at the time when the incident occurred. The baby was rushed to Sutter Davis Hospital, where he had X-rays and a CAT scan done.

The baby’s grandmother told the Vanguard that the three-year-old sibling (half-brother to the injured toddler) told her, “Daddy hit him in the head and he got sick.”

The CAT scan revealed injuries conducive to what is known as “shaken baby syndrome.” and he was taken to UCD Med Center.

On that same morning, the baby’s grandmother was notified by her daughter, the toddler’s mother, that blood flow to the brain had stopped.

Doctors at UCD explained to family members the toddler had about a two percent chance of surviving from the type of injuries he sustained.

During a visit by the Vanguard to see the toddler at UCD, doctors were getting ready to take another CAT scan to check for any change in brain activity and/or condition but, sadly, test results were negative.

Little Cameron remained on life support in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of UCD Hospital until he passed on January 25, 2014.

Darnell Dorsey, the toddler’s mother’s boyfriend, was arrested and charged with the death of little Cameron.

Today, more than a year later, testimony resumed in the preliminary hearing to see whether the charges will be upheld against Dorsey.

Testimony of Officer Evans Resumes

Officer Evans of the Davis Police Department assisted in the investigation into the toddler’s death, and his testimony resumed from January 22, 2015.

He explained that, during the interview with Dorsey, “it felt for the most part he was telling the truth but on some things he began to change, to be less emphatic about the dropping of the baby, his body language and tone changed and I felt he was not telling me the whole truth about what had happened that night.”

He said that Dorsey told him about the baby falling down the steps of their trailer home just a couple weeks earlier. The fall was witnessed by the toddler’s grandfather, Dorsey told the officer. He said the baby had blood on his face from the fall but did not appear to have any other injuries.

Evans testified to Dorsey telling him that Cameron had been sick with the flu, somewhat down, lethargic and throwing up on the day of the incident.

Dorsey said he had dropped the toddler off at the grandmother’s house in the early morning of January 22, 2014, around 8:45 a.m.

Evans said the baby’s grandmother told him Cameron was sick, so she gave him medicine and he rested. She said he felt much better after a while and was playing with his toys like normal.  He did not appear to be in any kind of pain, she told Evans.

Also, no bruises or injuries were noted by the grandmother, stated Evans.

Later that day, when Dorsey came to pick Cameron up from the grandmother’s house, the baby began to cry.

In cross-examination by Deputy Public Defender Joseph Gocke, Evans was asked about what the doctors at Sutter Davis Hospital told him. He told the defense that “they never said it looked like abuse.”

Mr. Gocke asked if Evans was aware of water being found on the toddler’s shirt that night, and he replied, “Yes.”

But Evans testified that the inconsistency in Dorsey’s account led him to suspect that Dorsey was not telling the “whole truth.” Evans began to doubt Dorsey’s story.

Testifying next for the state’s case was Detective Michael Munoz. Munoz went to the trailer home of Space 32, where the Baumgartens lived.

Mrs. Baumgarten told Munoz that she heard yelling but could only make out a couple words. She told the detective, “It sounded like the female told the male to either go or stay here,” but couldn’t make out exact words.

It was minutes later she saw the female leave in a red sedan.

Daniel Baumgarten, neighbor of Dorsey, told Munoz that he heard loud pounding on the wall around 10:30 a.m., shortly after the female arrived home.

It was then that the neighbor heard arguing and a male say, “Here I go again.”  Minutes later he, too, saw the female leave in a red sedan.

Shortly after seeing the female leave, the male left in a gray Pontiac, stated Baumgarten.

Mr. Baumgarten said he couldn’t make out any more of the conversation between the male and female that night.

The couple’s statements were taken separately, stated Munoz.

Dorsey’s History of Violent Behavior

Dorsey, having a criminal past which includes robbery, elder abuse, sexual misconduct with a minor, an assault and battery charge, and more, is no stranger to both the Yolo and Sacramento County court systems.

Family members expressed, after the passing of little Cameron, to the Vanguard that Dorsey had a violent temper and was often threatening toward family members of the toddler.

One member, who is a social worker for Sacramento County Child Protective Services, told the Vanguard that on one occasion, while doing an exchange of visitation between the parents of the toddler, Dorsey showed up with the two children in the back seat of his car, absent any car seats.

She also stated that Dorsey threatened to shoot her husband, after getting angry because they told him to turn his music down.

These incidents were reported to authorities and/or CPS, but the children remained in the mother’s custody where Dorsey resided.

When they received the call about Cameron being in the hospital, they said it was devastating, “but we knew he had done something to the baby, we just knew, we were heartbroken because we were days away from getting him out of the home for at least three to four days a week.”

Cameron’s father felt such a change would help lessen the stress for the mom and things would get better. He had not seen his son for a period of three months due to conflict over visitation, he stated. But he and his sister were hopeful that was soon going to change.

Dorsey is the father of the elder child. He and Cameron’s mother had split up and she began dating the toddler’s father. Soon after that, she was pregnant with Cameron. But the couple split after an effort to stay together proved futile.

After the break-up, Cameron’s father said, Dorsey got back together with the mother and resided in Davis on Olive Dr., where the coupled lived with the two children.

Testimony in the preliminary exam is expected to finish on Tuesday afternoon.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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