A man from Northern California was charged with murder after allegedly drowning his own daughter in a baptismal pool at a church.
Gerardo Mendoza Ordaz, 42, appeared in Sonoma Court and was formally charged with murder and felony child abuse in connection to the death involving his daughter at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
The judge in charge of the case requested for a psychologist to evaluate the mental state of Ordaz after his lawyer raised doubts about the 42 year old’s mental stability.
According to the police investigations and court documents, Ordaz arrived at the police station, carrying his 4 year old daughter’s lifeless body. The man was screaming for help in a back parking lot of Healdsburg Police Station on Center Street where he was found by one of the cops. His 9 year old son who was partially clothed was with him then. Ordaz and his son told responding police officers they came from the St. John’s Catholic Church about 75 yards away
The 4 year old was at the time unresponsive after attempts of resuscitation and was brought to Headsburg District Hospital where she was pronounced dead 90 minutes later.
“We believe the 4-year-old girl drowned, the father is responsible, and it occurred inside the church in the baptismal pool,” Healdsburg Police Chief Kevin Burke said. “We cannot disclose a motive at this time, but we determined it was not accidental,” Burke said. Burke said the child’s death is considered a homicide based on evidence at the church and statements by Ordaz and his son. “They were the only ones in the church at the time. The church leaves the doors open late on Sunday.”
Ordaz explained why he was at the church, but Burke said he could not disclose that information. Healdsburg police will consult the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office on the investigation and the information that will be released. Sonoma County Superior Court records show Ordaz was convicted of disturbing the peace by fighting in public in Healdsburg on June 4, 1998. He pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to credit for time served. He also pleaded guilty to a felony burglary in Healdsburg that occurred on July 11, 1996. He was sentenced to three years’ probation and one year in jail with 188 days credit for time served. He violated his probation by failing to report to a probation officer, and was sentenced on July 30, 1998 to two years in prison on the burglary charge and another offense.
The reason why the father drowned his daughter is still unidentified.