3-month-old Santa Ana boy dies, father arrested

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A 3-month-old boy died while on life support after he was found unresponsive with signs of blunt force trauma to the head. The baby's father has been arrested.

The boy, identified as Tristin Cota La Verne Mendez, was found Friday night not breathing. After officers arrived at the home in the 800 block of W. Stevens in Santa Ana, emergency personnel performed CPR on the infant and transported him to Children's Hospital of Orange County in critical condition.

According to the Orange County Coroner's Office, the baby died Monday afternoon after being on life support through the weekend.

Mendez had allegedly been watching his son Friday night and left home with the baby. When he returned, the baby's mother noticed her son was not responsive and Mendez fled the scene, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

The child's father, 20-year-old Jordan Mendez, was interviewed by detectives and subsequently booked into Santa Ana Jail on suspicion of assault on a child causing great bodily injury/death. He's being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Mendez was also the subject of an arrest warrant in an identity theft case from April 2014. He was scheduled to be in court on Tuesday to answer to those charges, but prosecutors filed additional charges, including murder of the child and lewd or lascivious acts with the baby's 14-year-old mother.

The case is now being investigated as a homicide. An autopsy took place Tuesday, but the baby's cause of death was still undetermined.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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