Ceres pool death inquiry ongoing

CPS, other records on drowned boy's family under review

07/27/2010 5:35 AM

07/27/2010 5:51 PM

CERES -- Police are sifting through thousands of pages of documents from Stanislaus County Child Protective Services and the schools as they determine whether they can build a child neglect case against the mother of a 2-year-old who drowned in the family's backyard swimming pool.

Detective Sgt. James Robbins said Monday that the bulk of the records are from CPS as police continue to investigate Florcita Valdez.

He said police are looking at records for all four of Valdez's children, including the oldest one, who lives with another family member. Investigators plan to obtain the children's medical records. Investigators also are interviewing neighbors, teachers, school officials and others.

"This is an ongoing investigation," Robbins said. "We are going over CPS records to see if there is a pattern of neglect. We are not ready to send anything to the district attorney's office."

Valdez said she was baking a cake July 18 along with a friend and two of her children, ages 14 and 8, inside her Larsen Lane home when she noticed her 2-year-old son was missing.

Officers found Aureliano Valdez in the backyard swimming pool. Police said algae in the water allowed for little visibility.

Valdez has since drained the pool. Police also were concerned about what they called filth and poor sanitation at the home.

Police said there is a fence around the pool, but the gate leading to the pool was open when officers arrived.

Valdez declined to comment Monday.

"I'm getting ready for the vigil for my son," she said. "When I'm ready, I will call you."

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or 578-2316.

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