Infant Dies In Tragic Accident – October 17, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eye Staff Report

27TH STREET – On Saturday Oct. 15 at about 9:33 a.m., officers from Arcata Police Department responded to the 1600 block of 27th Street on the report of a possibly deceased infant.

Medical personnel arrived on scene prior to the officer’s arrival and confirmed the infant was deceased.

During the subsequent investigation officers determined the four-month-old infant had been in bed with her mother, Rebecca McPherson, while McPherson was blow drying her hair.

The blow dryer was left on when McPherson fell asleep at approximately 3 a.m., resulting in the child’s death. When a friend heard the blow dryer running in the morning, the deceased infant was discovered and the police were called.

Officers arrested 29-year-old Rebecca McPherson of Arcata for felony Child Endangerment. McPherson was booked and lodged in the Humboldt County Correctional facility.

Police Chief Tom Chapman said an autopsy was performed Sunday, but results were not immediately available. He said alcohol may have been a factor in the incident.

Pending the autopsy results, two possible causes of death were theorized. One was hyperthermia, with the hot air possibly overheating the infant. Another was respiratory distress from the heated air blowing in the child’s face.