Father drowns daughter in baptismal pool in Healdsburg, police say

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Police arrested a man accused of drowning his 4-year-old daughter in a baptismal pool at Healdsburg's St. Johns Church on Sunday. (KGO-TV)

A man was arrested for drowning his 4-year-old daughter in a baptismal pool at a church in Northern California on Sunday, according to authorities.

Healdsburg police said 42-year-old Gerardo Mendoza Ordaz drowned his daughter at Healdsburg's St John's Catholic Church.

"We do believe she was drowned and that it was intentional," Healdsburg Police Department Chief Kevin Burke said.

Police said Ordaz showed up behind the police station naked and crying for help as he held his unconscious daughter with his son by their side Sunday evening.

"They were the only people inside the church at the time. There were no other parties present. As I understand it our local Catholic church, leaves the doors to the premises unlocked late on Sundays. And so they were in there alone at the time through an unlocked door," Burke said. "We are relying on testimony of the older son and the statement of the suspect."

No mass was held on Monday while officials investigated the crime scene. According to police, this was Healdsburg's first murder since 2008.

The Santa Rosa archdiocese and St. Johns Catholic Church did not release a comment on Monday.
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