Monday, January 23, 2012

Suisun City foster father, Solano County, others sued in boy's death

By Ryan Chalk

A Suisun City foster parent facing a homicide charge in connection with the death of an infant last year is now facing a civil lawsuit from the child's mother, according to documents filed in Solano County Superior Court.

An attorney for Vallejo resident Christina Bito filed the civil lawsuit last week and seeks an unspecified amount in monetary damages for what the filing describes as a "willful and malicious" assault on the child she surrendered at birth. Also named in the lawsuit are the foster parent, Reginald Tanubagijo, his wife, Tammy, Solano County, the child's biological father and up to 100 others yet to be identified.

Suisun City police arrested Tanubagijo on suspicion of felony child abuse Nov. 30, 2010, the day after police and emergency personnel were called to his Youngstown Lane home, where they found an unresponsive infant, identified as Christian Bito Ocampo, according to court papers. The homicide charge was added after the 3-month-old infant died at the hospital a week later.

Surrendered at birth, county officials granted custody of the child to Tanubagijo and his wife, both of whom are approved foster care providers.

Tanubagijo, who is free on bail, was in court on the criminal charge this week. Judge E. Bradley Nelson ordered him back in two weeks for the setting of a probable-cause hearing. Tanubagijo's attorney has proclaimed his innocence and characterized the child's death as accidental.

Nelson, at Tanubagijo's earlier bail hearing, acknowledged his significant ties to the community and lack of a criminal record in his decision to set bail in the homicide case. His attorney also referenced numerous letters of recommendation for being "phenomenal foster parents."

Bito's wrongful death claim is seeking damages for medical and hospital expenses, burial and funeral costs, loss of love, society and comfort of the child. The lawsuit also claims that the county and others were negligent in the hiring and training of Tanubagijo.

Bito's claim alleges the child died as a result of Tanubagijo's assault with the intent to do harm and/or the conscious disregard of the child's safety. The court filing does not detail why the child was entrusted to the Tanubagijo's care.

Tanubagijo, or an attorney representing him, has not yet filed a response to Bito's wrongful death claim. A case management conference was set for May.


No comments:

Post a Comment