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Dad's abuse suspected in death
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Autopsy results will determine if a father of a dead Stanislaus County boy inflicted injuries that led to his death last July in Ceres.

Police dispatchers received a call from someone at St. Jude's Catholic Church on the evening of July 9 to report that the three-year-old Riverbank boy had stopped breathing on the campus.

Deputy Chief Mike Borges found the boy in his mother's arms on the north side of the church building without a pulse and began administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived. The mother could not speak English and was visibly shaken. The boy - whose name was not available - was whisked away by ambulance and later pronounced dead at Memorial Medical Center.

First-responders were informed by the child's mother that her son suffered from a prolonged illness and had recently been discharged from the hospital.

Not comfortable closing the case as a natural death, Detective Derek Perry reviewed the case and learned about a chain of events leading up to the child's death. Perry learned that Everardo Gomez Sr., 31, of Santa Ana, intentionally stomped on the infant's head in a jealous rage in February 2009. In the Orange County court trial, prosecutors alleged the father was jealous that his wife was paying more attention to the baby and than to him. Gomez was convicted on a felony charge of abuse and is currently serving an eight-year sentence.

Following the abuse, the child suffered from a series of medical issues, including cerebral palsy, seizures, hydrocephalus, and he had to be fed through a tube in his stomach. The baby could not walk and the only word he could say was "mama," Perry learned. The baby boy had been seen by numerous specialists who treated his illnesses since 2009.

Results of the July 11 autopsy are being finalized. If it is determined the abuse had a direct cause of the boy's death, investigators will move forward with a murder case against Gomez. It's unknown if Santa Ana or Stanislaus County would prosecute such a case.