Updated after the jump: Last night, Deras was caught on a flight into Mexico. The infant's name was Valerie — she was just nine months and eight days old.
One helpless baby girl who hadn't even reached her first birthday was found dead in her home Saturday evening by L.A. County sheriff's deputies. By then, her alleged killer and father, 20-year-old Jose Deras, was long gone.
Today, investigators are still on the hunt for Deras. They believe he fled the residence he shared with his wife and daughter — on the 5100 block of McCallum Avenue, right next to South Gate Park — at about 5:45 p.m. on Saturday. Since then, details about his getaway vehicle have been released to the public:
According to the Sheriff's Department, the car is a black 2008 Nissan Sentra with four doors and a California license plate reading 6FYB170. He's been on the loose for over 36 hours — so the lookout sphere is widening by the minute.
Deras apparently assaulted his wife and daughter in the home, then sped off into the warm winter dusk in his Sentra. His baby girl did not respond to officers when they arrived at the scene, so she was rushed to the St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where she was soon declared dead from “blunt force trauma.”
Update: KNX news radio reports this morning that the infant's mother was able to escape the home after Deras' attack, dashing down the street to an auto stop with their other child — a young boy.
An attendant at the shop says she allegedly hid the two refugees as the killer ran by, frantically searching for his remaining family members. Luckily, he never found them.
The woman tells KNX that she often sold Deras flowers for his wife. She comments on the tragedy: “How? He killed his own baby. I was shocked.”
Here's what the at-large alleged criminal looks like, in case you cross his path:
Jose Deras is a 20-year old Hispanic male, 5'08', 160 pounds. He has curly black hair, slight moustache, and a goatee. He has a tattoo of a dragon on his right shoulder, and a tattoo of skulls on his upper right shoulder.
And here's who you should call:
Anyone with information about this incident or the suspect's whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500 or South Gate Police Department at (323) 563- 5400.
Update: Deras was able to make his way deep into Mexico on an airplane yesterday before being detained by Mexican law enforcement. Lieutenant Dave Coleman of the L.A. County sheriff's Homicide Bureau tells City News Service that Mexican officials are currently holding the suspected killer in Mexico City. He faces murder charges.
Valerie will undergo an autopsy later today.
KTLA reports that Deras had recently been laid off from work, and that his wife was the one supporting the family while he took care of the children. When she came home last night, they allegedly got in a fight; that's when Deras' wife ran to the tire shop for help.
But before help could arrive, Valerie was dead due to some form of “blunt force trauma” — either a beating or a strangling, we would guess.
KTLA sticks a camera through the window of their home, where “beer cans and baby toys” set a grim scene:
Originally posted on Dec. 17 at 10:10 a.m.