San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday Morning News Roundup
Authorities Find Body of Missing 10-Month-Old Girl
The grandmother of a 10-month-old girl found dead Tuesday said her daughter's boyfriend took the baby with him on Feb. 2 to watch the Super Bowl at his Castroville home but never bought her back before he was arrested on suspicion of the baby's murder.
Pompey Morales said Jesus "Jessie" Espinoza and his daughter Linda Espinoza kept her granddaughter for nearly two weeks and "kept making excuses, they were going to Disneyland, this and that."
The Espinozas stayed in contact with Morales by text message, saying they were at Disneyland and "don't worry, that they were having fun."
"He was supposed to be back (this) Sunday, but he didn't show up," Morales said.
"On Saturday night, she (Linda) confessed they never went nowhere."
Morales said she and her Castroville family were devastated to learn Tuesday about the death of Angelle Jenisis Negron, the 10-month-old daughter of Morales' daughter Susan, who is in a rehab facility for substance abuse.
The girl's body was located at 9 a.m. Tuesday hidden under some brush off of Market Street near Davis Road just outside of the Salinas city limits, according to Monterey County sheriff's Sgt. Terry Kaiser.
The body was found three days after the girl's family reported her missing, Sheriff Scott Miller said at a news conference in Salinas Tuesday.
Jesus Espinoza, 47, was arrested at 5:30 p.m. Monday by Los Angeles police, aided by FBI agents from Los Angeles and Watsonville, in the area of Maple and Seventh Streets in Los Angeles and transported to the Monterey County Jail in Salinas, Kaiser said.
He was booked into the jail at 12:35 p.m. Tuesday on suspicion of murder, child endangerment and child stealing in Angelle's disappearance, according to a jail employee.
Kaiser said an autopsy on the girl's body would be performed today.
"We had to ID (the baby's body)," Morales said. "We never thought this would happen to our grandchild. We have to stay strong."
Morales said the family is waiting for the autopsy to learn the cause of the girl's death and when she died, but "it had to be recently, she wasn't decomposed. She was fresh faced. It had to be within a couple of days."
Linda Espinoza had promised she and her father would have Angelle back by Sunday at 8 a.m., Morales said. But on Saturday, after confessing they never went to Disneyland, Linda filed a report with sheriff's deputies that her father had abused the girl, Morales said.
Linda sent a text with a blown-up picture allegedly showing Angelle with a black eye, Morales said. "She confessed and said that she wasn't going to cover up anymore for her dad's lies," Morales said. "We didn't know where Angelle was at."
The family put up fliers about the missing girl around Castroville and people told her that Jesus "was a good person" and wouldn't harm her, Morales said.
Then a relative posted on Facebook that she had seen Jesus at a Greyhound bus stop in Salinas by himself just after midnight Sunday with two duffle bags, she said.
Espinoza, who had been dating Susan Morales for less than six months, often asked to take Angelle out of the house for brief outings and the family trusted him, Morales said.
Anchor Brewing Announces Plan for New Site Near AT&T Park
Anchor Brewing is building a new brewery and restaurant across from San Francisco's AT&T Park at the city's new Mission Rock development, company and city officials announced Tuesday.
Anchor, famous for its Anchor Steam beer, is running out of room at its current site in Potrero Hill, and the new building at Pier 48 will allow the company to expand its production from 180,000 barrels annually to 680,000, said co-owner Keith Greggor.
Construction is set to begin in late 2014 on the building, which Greggor said will be a "must-see attraction for locals and visitors alike."
Mission Rock is being developed by the San Francisco Giants across McCovey Cove from their home at AT&T Park.
Anchor "really represents the first major tenant" at the site and will "serve as a front door to the Mission Rock project," Giants president Larry Baer said.
Mayor Ed Lee said the company's name was fitting since they will serve as an "anchor tenant" in the neighborhood while providing about 200 new jobs.
The facility at Pier 48 will include an area for brewing, packaging and shipping, as well as a restaurant and museum.
The restaurant is expected to hold 450 people, while many more would be expected to come to the building on Giants game days. "How many we can handle, we've yet to figure out," Greggor said.
Plans for the site will have to be approved by the city and by the Port Commission before moving forward, but Lee said he was confident the permitting process will go smoothly since the facility will be in an already existing structure at Pier 48.
"I don't see this at all as being any challenge," he said. I think this will get through very easily."
The Mission Rock development is eventually expected to include up to 1,500 residential units, up to 250,000 square feet in retail space and 8 acres of open space.
Elderly Woman Dies After Fire at Cluttered Hayward Highland Home
A 77-year-old woman who was injured when an electrical fire broke out at her Hayward Hills home on Sunday has died, a Hayward fire captain said.
The Hayward Fire Department responded to a single-story home in the 3800 block of Arbutus Court in unincorporated Hayward just before noon after neighbors reported seeing smoke coming from the residence, fire Capt. Thor Poulsen said.
The neighbors tried to break into the home through a front door and the garage, but were blocked by items piled against the entryways, Poulsen said.
Firefighters eventually made it into the home to discover that the woman living there, later identified by the Alameda County coroner's bureau as 77-year-old Lorraine Carvalho, had apparently been hoarding items in the home, Poulsen said.
He said there were stacks of debris as high as 3 feet against the door and throughout the house.
Carvalho was found face-down and unresponsive in the living room, with second-degree burns to her legs and arms, Poulsen said.
She was taken to Eden Valley Medical Center in Castro Valley, where she was put on life support with the hopes she would stabilize and could be brought to the St. Francis Memorial Hospital burn unit in San Francisco, Poulsen said.
However, she succumbed to her injuries at the hospital later that day.
Five cats perished in the fire, and 10 other cats were found outside the home.
Alameda County Animal Control officials have taken the surviving cats, according to Poulsen.
The fire appears to have started near a living room wall where there were overloaded electrical outlets, he said.
Fire crews had to dig through trash to find the source of the blaze, Poulsen said.
Poulsen said the house was in a deplorable condition, with human and cat feces throughout the house, as well as maggots and rodents.
There was so much trash and debris in the home that there was no space to walk around, he said.
Appeals Court Reinstates Lawsuit Seeking Wiccan Prison Chaplain
A federal appeals court ruled in San Francisco Tuesday that an inmate at a state women's prison in Chowchilla can pursue a lawsuit seeking a paid prison chaplain for her Wiccan religion.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit filed against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation by Caren Hill, a prisoner at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla.
A federal trial judge in Fresno had dismissed the case in 2011.
The appeals court overturned the dismissal and said Hill could go back to the trial court to proceed on her claim that the state prison system showed an unconstitutional preference for certain religions.
A prison administration's accommodation of prisoners' religious rights must be carried out "without unduly preferring one religion over the other," the court said.
The corrections department currently hires chaplains for Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Native American and Protestant faiths.
Inmates of other faiths, such as Wicca and Buddhism, can have volunteer chaplains and can also use the services of the paid chaplains.
Wicca is a neo-pagan religion based on a reverence for nature.
Hill's lawsuit claims the department's choice of which chaplains to hire is an unconstitutional establishment of religion because the decisions are not based on "neutral, equitable or unbiased criteria."
The lawsuit alleges the Chowchilla prison has more Wiccan inmates than Jewish or Muslim inmates, and comparable numbers of Wiccan and Catholic prisoners.
The appeals court does not require the department to hire a Wiccan chaplain, but merely allows Hill to try to prove her case at a trial.
The court said Hill would have to prove her allegations of unfairness with evidence, such as current figures on the number of Wiccan inmates in the state prison system.
MTA Soon Starting Evening Meters, Event Pricing Near AT&T Park
Parking near San Francisco's AT&T Park is getting pricier in the evenings and during events at the ballpark starting next month, transit officials announced Tuesday.
Beginning March 4, meters will remain operating until 10 p.m. from Mondays through Saturdays in the area close to the ballpark at Third and King streets.
The meters will also cost more during days of San Francisco Giants games or other events there, according to the city's Municipal Transportation Agency.
The changes are meant to increase parking availability in the area and reduce congestion caused by vehicles circling around to look for a parking spot, agency officials said.
Between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on non-event days, the meters will cost $0.25 per hour, while they will cost up to $7 an hour on event days.
The first event with the increased meter rates will be the World Baseball Classic, which runs at AT&T Park from March 17-19.
"Appropriately priced parking on our public streets makes sense and supports the city's Transit First policy, especially in this growing neighborhood that is home to AT&T Park and many special events," SFMTA director of transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement.
The new policy was developed with the input of neighborhood residents and business owners, according to agency officials, who also plan to canvass the neighborhood in the coming weeks to publicize the plan.
Special signs will be posted on meters in the area, which includes streets as far north as Harrison Street, as far east as The Embarcadero, as far south as Mariposa Street and as far west as Seventh Street. More information about the program can be found online at www.sfpark.org/events.
Man Arrested After Pursuit for Assaulting Girlfriend
Santa Rosa police arrested a man for assaulting his girlfriend Tuesday morning after he crashed during a police pursuit, a police sergeant said.
The female victim called police around 9:20 a.m. to report her boyfriend assaulted her in a car in West Santa Rosa, Sgt. Lisa Banayat said.
The suspect stopped the car and drove away, but the victim saw him driving in the area as she was being interviewed by a police officer, Banayat said.
Another officer located the suspect's red 1992 Ford Ranger near the intersection of State Farm Drive and Cleveland Avenue, Banayat said.
The suspect eluded a traffic stop and drove north on Range Avenue then east on Bicentennial Way where he entered southbound U.S. Highway 101, Banayat said.
The suspect drove at approximately 95 mph and began to exit at College Avenue.
As he tried to pass traffic on the right, he collided with a stalled, unoccupied vehicle on the right shoulder of the off-ramp to College Avenue, Banayat said.
The suspect abandoned his car and ran to the area of 11th and Ripley streets where he surrendered to another police officer, Banayat said.
Daniel Ward, 28, a transient, was arrested for battery of a spouse, fleeing a police officer, failing to stop after an accident causing property damage, driving on a suspended or revoked license, resisting or obstructing an officer and violating his probation on drug charges, Banayat said.
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