After Death of 3-Week-Old Prompted Landfill Search, Father Charged With Murder

After Death of 3-Week-Old Prompted Landfill Search, Father Charged With Murder

Trucks dump trash at a landfill in Puente Hills, Calif., in a file photo. (Nick Ut/AP Photo)

City News Service

City News Service

6/5/2024

Updated: 6/5/2024

0

PALMDALE, Calif.—The father of a 3-week-old baby who went missing from a Palmdale home in early May has been charged with murdering the child, whose disappearance prompted a search of an Antelope Valley landfill, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced June 5.
Yusuf Dewees, 24, was charged with one count each of murder, assault on a child causing death and child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death. Mr. Dewees is in custody in Ogden, Utah, and it was unclear when he would be returned to Los Angeles for arraignment.
Mr. Dewees is accused of killing his child, Baki Dewees, sometime between May 2 and 3. The child’s body has yet to be found. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies conducted a multi-day search of the Antelope Valley Landfill last month in hopes of recovering the child’s body, to no avail.
According to family members, Baki Dewees has been missing since May 3 and was last seen with his father.
The infant’s great-aunt wrote on Facebook last month that Yusuf Dewees “took him [Baki] out of his grandmother’s home and that was the last time anyone in my family saw him. His father is currently incarcerated in Utah.”
Sheriff’s Lt. Omar Camacho told the Los Angeles Times last month that two days after she gave birth to Baki on April 14, the child’s mother, 25-year-old Rosealani Gaoa, was arrested in Utah on child abuse allegations involving one of her other three children. The child involved in that case was placed in the custody of child welfare officials in Utah.
Following that arrest, Yusuf Dewees returned to family home in the 2300 block of Carolyn Drive in Palmdale with the three other children, but subsequently left and went back to Utah, and the infant Baki was never seen again. According to The L.A. Times, the other two children have also been placed in the care of welfare officials in Utah.
Mr. Dewees was subsequently arrested in Utah on suspicion of making a false statement and obstruction of justice. The L.A. Times reported that Mr. Dewees allegedly lied to police in Utah when questioned about the baby’s disappearance.
It was unclear what led prosecutors to file the murder charge against Mr. Dewees. According to the District Attorney’s Office, prosecutors will recommend he be held on $2 million bail when he is returned to Los Angeles.
He could face life in prison if convicted.
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