IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Police searching for body of newborn baby in landfill site after mother is arrested on child neglect charges

“During the early stages, the investigation transitioned from a missing child search to a death investigation,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.
Get more newsLiveon

Police were searching a landfill site in California for the body of a missing 3-week-old baby after his mother was arrested on child abuse charges in Utah.

Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives were combing through waste at the Antelope Valley landfill in Palmdale, north of Los Angeles, on Tuesday in the hope of finding Baki Dewees, NBC Los Angeles reported.

The boy was born April 14 and was last seen alive May 3 in Palmdale, according to a flyer family members distributed on social media. The flyer featured a picture of tiny Baki, wearing a yellow sweater and green pants, and said he was last seen with his father, Yusuf Dewees, 24.

The sheriff’s department said in a news release that it initially responded to a report of a missing child in the 2300 block of Carolyn Drive in Palmdale.

"During the early stages, the investigation transitioned from a missing child search to a death investigation," it said.

The statement also confirmed that the boy's parents — who have three other children — were arrested and were being held on charges unrelated to the missing boy.

Jail records show that Baki’s mother, Roselani Gaoa, 25, was arrested April 16 — just two days after he was born — on charges of intentional child abuse, reckless child abuse and aggravated child abuse. Both are being held in Ogden, Utah, north of Salt Lake City.

The baby's father, Yusuf Dewees, was arrested May 7 on charges of obstruction of justice and making a false statement to be used at a preliminary hearing, the records show.

There has so far been no indication of what evidence led police to the landfill site.

The sheriff's department declined to comment further. Lt. Omar Camacho told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday: "Unfortunately, this started off as a missing infant, and now it is a death investigation. We’re searching [the landfill] based on where the investigation has taken us, and unfortunately we weren’t able to find anything today."

The baby’s grandfather Brad Parke told NBC Los Angeles: "When the baby came up missing, that's when you know something is wrong. We just want to know where the baby's at. Hoping that the baby's alive, praying that the baby's actually alive."

Parke also said the baby's mother, his stepdaughter, had recently moved to California from Ohio with her husband and the couple's three other children, ages 1, 3 and 5, but "things didn't work out," and Yusuf Dewees wanted to "go his own way."

Baki's grandmother Sofia Paulo, who has been pleading for help in finding him on social media, told NBC Los Angeles in a phone call that he was only a few days old when Gaoa was arrested on suspicion of child abuse while they were staying at a shelter in Utah.

Paulo said she raised the alarm after she called the shelter to check on Baki and found out he wasn't there.