Toddler Stabbing an Attempted Murder?


On Monday, May 19, 2015, a three-year-old boy was stabbed by his mother and is not expected to survive as of now. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the mother, Michelle Betancourt, 23, was arrested on Tuesday morning on suspicion of attempted murder. Lieutenant Holly Francisco stated the suspect and her husband are currently cooperating with investigators. The incident happened in Cudahy, in Los Angeles.

It was reported that Betancourt stabbed her son around 8:30 during a verbal altercation inside the home. Police have not released what was said in the argument or the origin of it. Neighbors were reported to have called the authorites bcause they could hear it outside. Following the stabbing of the toddler, the boy’s father called the police.

Before paramedics arrived, neighbors and the toddler’s parents were attempting to give the boy first aid, Francisco stated. As stated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, if the toddler dies, the mother could be booked for child abuse and murder. Furthermore, social services has now become a part of the toddler’s case, and could possibly take the nine-year-old sister into protective custody.

Currently, the toddler is in grave condition. Betancourt is now being held at the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station on $1 million bond.

Although the stabbing of the three-year-old was called “accidental,” it brings about great suspicion that the mother was take into custody for an alleged attempted murder. An initial investigation unearthed enough evidence to show that the mother intentionally stabbed the toddler once in the chest.

Stabbings of toddlers are very uncommon, especially those of whom die or are critically injured from accidental stabbings.

According to a study done by Home Safe Kids and Home Safe Group on Australian toddlers up to the age of four, accidental cutting and piercing injuries was the fourth leading cause of toddler admittance to the hospital in 2009. Out of 336,000 hospitalizations, 17, 900 were from this type of injury. Statistics show that in 100 percent of the cases, knives, scissors, and other sharp object were found to be available in the home. Although the study did not include numbers regarding fatalities, if there were any, considering only five percent of small child hospitalizations were for cuttings or piercings, sheer statistics show that it would only be a few per 100,000.

The family of the deceased toddler claims that the toddler fell on the knife. However, investigators claim that the stab wound looks to have been caused by foul play during the argument inside the house.

Another account of a recent and somewhat similar scenario was when another toddler was killed in an apparent accidental stabbing. According to Master Sargent Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department, a man was cutting lemons when the hammock carrying both the toddler and the man collapsed to the ground. The toddler was stabbed in the chest with the knife laying on the ground, and later died. The man, who was the victim’s uncle, was not charged in the incident as there was no evidence that foul play was involved.

It is unclear whether there was a motive that sparked the incident of the toddler being stabbed. If enough evidence displays itself this early in the investigation to result in the attempted murder change of the mother, this may be the last time this will referred to as an accidental stabbing.

By Alex Lemieux


LA Times: Mother arrested in stabbing of 3-year-old boy in Cudahy

KFOR 4: Oklahoma 4-year-old Dies After Falling on Knife in “very tragic accident”

CBS Los Angeles: 3-Year-Old Boy Stabbed In Cudahy Listed In Grave Condition; Mother Arrested

Home Safe Kids: Australian Injury Statistics

Photo Courtesy of OZinOH’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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