Father arrested after 8-month-old dies in Hickman

August 5, 2013 

— The father of an 8-month-old girl who died Sunday was arrested Monday on suspicion of child abuse and domestic violence.

Dale Rutherford, 41, of Ceres was living for the past two months with his four children and their mother in a Mercury Grand Marquis, according to Sgt. Keith Rakoncza of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department.

Shortly after 9 a.m. Sunday, the children's mother called authorities because the infant was not responsive. The child later was pronounced dead.

Rutherford's charges are not related to the 8-month-old's death but instead are connected to allegations of abuse against the mother and the other children, ages 4, 3 and 2.

During the investigation, the mother made allegations of domestic violence against Rutherford, Rakoncza said.

Authorities said that investigators found evidence supporting her allegations, as well as evidence of child abuse.

An autopsy was conducted on the body of the 8-month-old, but authorities will not release the cause of death.

Homicide detectives continue to investigate the death.

According to authorities, the car the family lived in was parked on property in the 500 block of Hickman Road in Hickman.

Investigators ask anyone with information about the investigation to call Detective Cory Brown at (209) 567-4485.

People also can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636.

Tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward by emailing tips from www.modestopolice.com/crimestoppers, or texting them to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus the message.

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