A Fort Bragg foster father was arrested Monday on suspicion of slapping and shaking a 5-month-old baby, causing injuries that killed her, authorities said.
Wilson Lee Tubbs III, 38, was being held on $500,000 bail at the Mendocino County Jail in Ukiah on suspicion of causing serious injury to an infant resulting in death, Fort Bragg Police Chief Scott Mayberry said.
He said Tubbs admitted injuring the girl.
The infant was a relative from the family of Tubbs' wife and the couple had been caring for her since Oct. 23, Mayberry said.
Mendocino Coast Hospital staff called police Dec. 2 to report possible abuse after finding bruises on the infant's face and skull, Mayberry said.
Tubbs had taken her to the hospital because she'd stopped breathing, Mayberry said. The wife was out of town, he said.
Tubbs initially told police the girl had fallen off a changing table onto a hardwood floor and the changing pad toppled on top of her after he had stepped away for a few seconds, Mayberry said. He told officers he thought perhaps his large dog had knocked the girl to the floor.
The child was flown to Children's Hospital in Oakland, where doctors Dec. 4 reported she had no brain function, Mayberry said. She died the next day.
The infant had two skull fractures and several bruises, injuries a child abuse specialist told police couldn't have been caused in a fall, Mayberry said.
Last Saturday, Tubbs told investigators from the District Attorney's Office that he had gotten upset with the baby and had shaken and slapped her "in a forceful manor, causing the child's injuries," police said in a statement.
On Monday, the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office filed a complaint against Tubbs and a judge issued an arrest warrant.
Officers took Tubbs into custody at 4:50 p.m. Monday in the 1000 block of Oak Street.
Tubbs, who also goes by Josh, has no local criminal history and has not cared for foster children before, Mayberry said.
Tubbs and his wife have a daughter who is about to turn 18 and lives at home, Mayberry said.