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Baby improving, suspect awaits charges in stabbing

May 16, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The District Attorney's Office was expected to file charges today against a 19-year-old man arrested in connection with the stabbing Monday of his 7-month-old cousin in Imperial.

Benjamin Jason Escobar, a Huntington Park resident who had been staying with family in the 600 block of Yucca Street in Imperial, remained in custody today with his bail set at $100,000.

He was expected to be charged with attempted murder following Monday's stabbing of Anthony Escalera, who after being stabbed was placed into a trash bin across the street from his home.

A spokeswoman at Children's Hospital in San Diego reported Tuesday that Anthony had been upgraded from serious to fair condition. A hospital spokeswoman this morning said there would be no further information released on Anthony at the request of his parents.


The stabbing has left people in the quiet Sandalwood Glenn subdivision shocked. Neighbors said they could not imagine such a crime occurring in a neighborhood where people feel safe allowing their children to play on front lawns.

The stabbing occurred sometime before 3 p.m. Monday. That was when Anthony's grandmother, who was baby-sitting him, went to check on Anthony, who was supposed to be asleep in his bed.

Instead, the grandmother found a pool of blood in his crib. She then started a search along with other neighbors.

Police were called to the scene and within 15 minutes of arriving Imperial police Investigator Ray Valenzuela found Anthony in a trash bin across the street.

Valenzuela reported the baby was face down in the bin and was covered by a white trash bag.

Those at the scene said it was fortunate the baby was found when he was. If more time had passed the loss of blood and heat in the bin could have proved deadly.

A Calexico Fire Department paramedic who lives in the area used mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to normalize the baby's breathing.

When the baby was safely away from the scene an investigation began. Police found a shirt covered with blood that reportedly belongs to Escobar.

Witnesses told police they saw Escobar near the trash bin where the baby was found.

One individual told a reporter while others were searching hectically for the baby, Escobar was standing calmly.

A DA's office staffer said this morning the office was awaiting reports from police on the crime. Once those reports are submitted the DA can decide whether to file formal charges.

Those charges would have to be filed today, the staffer said, or Escobar would be released from custody.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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