Father of missing baby boy in Palmdale now charged with murder, child abuse

Michelle Fisher Image
Thursday, June 6, 2024
Father of missing baby in Palmdale charged with murder, child abuse
The father of a missing baby boy in the Palmdale area has been charged with murder and child abuse, authorities announced.

PALMDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- The father of a missing baby boy in the Palmdale area has been charged with murder and child abuse, authorities announced.

According to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, 24-year-old Yusef Dewees has been charged with one count of murder, one count of assault on a child causing death, and one count of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death.

"We have significant amount of evidence to support that baby Baki was murdered and that he was murdered by his father," Gascón told Eyewitness News on Wednesday.

The baby, who was born on April 14, was last seen with his father, who has since been taken into custody and remains jailed in Utah. He will be extradited back to Los Angeles County though an exact timeline is unknown.

The child's grandmother reported the baby missing on May 3, and last month, investigators scoured the Antelope Valley Landfill as the case shifted from a search for a missing person to what authorities said was a suspicious death investigation.

Sheriff's detectives have not disclosed why the landfill became a focus of the probe, but authorities described Yusuf Dewees as a suspect in the case.

That search was ultimately suspended, and according to Gascón, Baki still hasn't been found. The boy's mother was already in jail on unrelated charges prior to the baby's disappearance and thus is not considered a suspect in the case.

"The baby was apparently born in Utah," said the DA. "We know that the mom is in custody now in Utah. She was arrested for a complaint about abuse on some of the other siblings. We know that the father traveled back to L.A. County with all the kids."

"We believe the baby was murdered while [the mother] was in custody. Whether there's any other culpability as to the baby in some other ways or some of the other siblings is still unclear," the DA added.

Yusuf Dewees is currently in custody in Ogden, Utah, and a court date in L.A. County has not been scheduled. The Los Angeles County Antelope Valley Court issued an extradition arrest warrant on Wednesday.

If convicted as charged, the maximum sentence is life in state prison.

This is a developing story. This article will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.