A mother was arrested Sunday for allegedly tying up her toddler and placing a plastic bag on his head at their home in Santa Paula, California.
“On Sunday, December 1st, 2019 at 6:10 PM, Santa Paula Police Department received a 911 call of a structure fire on Bahia Circle where a woman was tied to a bed and a young boy was in another part of the home,” the department’s Facebook post read.
Firefighters found the little boy with his hands tied and a plastic bag covering his head, according to Fox 59.
The department’s post continued:
Firefighters from the Ventura County Fire Department responded and rescued the woman and boy while extinguishing a fire in the downstairs living room. The woman and child were taken to the Santa Paula Hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation. Detectives from Santa Paula Police Department responded to the scene along with Arson investigators from the Ventura County Fire Department and initiated a criminal investigation.
Once police interviewed the boy’s mother, 47-year-old Maricela Magana Ruiz, they determined that she placed the bag over the 3-year-old’s head and put him in the room by himself. However, they have not yet determined if the fire was intentionally set.
“The little boy actually was frightened and he exited the bedroom where he had been placed alone and in an attempt to save himself and his mother,” Police Chief Matthew Rodriguez told KMOV.
“That just doesn’t make sense in any shape or form because, see the kids out here seem fine. I don’t know. But you never know what kind of life people are living,” said neighbor Austin Daniel.
The department said a motive is currently unknown and the investigation into the incident is ongoing. Rodriguez said there is a possibility that the incident was related to a domestic dispute over child custody.
Following her arrest, Ruiz was booked into the Ventura County Jail on suspicion of felony child endangerment and her bail set at $50,000.
“You know, you never want to see a little kid in that kind of situation, you never want to see anybody in that kind of situation. But that’s when my heart kind of sank,” Daniel concluded.