A California mother stabbed her 7-month-old infant boy to death inside of popular Northern California park on Saturday, April 26. The young mother – 23-years of age – admitted to investigators that she murdered her infant child. The mother’s motive is unclear, but police said she was suicidal, and her wrists showed evidence of possible previous attempts to take her life.
According to a report today from The Associated Press, as carried by ABC News, Ashley Newton of San Jose was arrested Saturday for murder. The East Bay Regional Parks District Police Department is in the process of interviewing friends and family. Investigators said they are having a tough go of attempting to make sense of such a heinous crime.
“This is an extremely shocking case for us,” said Chief Timothy Anderson of the park's police department. “This kind of thing rarely happens in our jurisdiction.” Newton was found in a remote part of Camp Arroyo, inside of the 4,400 acre Del Valle Regional Park Saturday afternoon, carrying her son, whom she said she stabbed, authorities said. She remains jailed in Santa Rita and awaits her initial appearance this week in court.
The incident appears to have started with a vehicle collision. Saturday morning, East Bay Regional Park police received a call about a crashed vehicle, by itself, at the end of Arroyo Drive – a no-outlet road near the popular children’s Arroyo Camp. When officers arrived, they found an empty Honda Civic with damage to its front and rear. Because no one was in the area, the officers determined that the car may have been smashed up by individuals walking nearby. However, an infant car seat in the back of the car prompted further investigation.
The California Highway Patrol was called and officers continued to search for the owner of the vehicle. At around 12:30 p.m., police saw Newton walking with a wrapped baby. Police said the infant was not moving and that Newton was distraught. As they looked closer, they saw the child had been stabbed multiple times. An off-duty officer and his wife who were on a hike had previously joined the search group, and CPR was performed, but the child was already dead.
San Jose’s Mercury News reported that East Bay Regional Park District police Chief Timothy Anderson said Newton appeared to be suffering from some sort of severe depression or a psychotic break. Newton had self-inflicted wounds to her body, and visible scarring on her wrists where it appears she may have previously attempted to take her life. A pocket knife was found nearby and taken into evidence.
The Alameda County Sheriff's office said Newton is being held without bail. The park remains open to the public, but the area being investigated is cordoned off.