A Kern Regional Transit bus made an unscheduled stop 10 miles north of California City Wednesday morning for a man carrying a toddler.
By the time the bus reached the center of town at 7:26 a.m., California City police were waiting for him.
The 2-year-old boy was dead.
According to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, the incident is being investigated as if it were a homicide, although a spokesman said the circumstances surrounding the child’s death aren’t known yet.
However, spokesman Ray Pruitt said “There’s some indication that the boy’s death is suspicious.”
He said the adult male is the live-in boyfriend of the toddler’s mother.
No charges have been filed, but the man is being detained.
According to Pruitt, the bus driver saw the man along the side of Neuralia Road and stopped to ask if he needed assistance. The man, who was carrying the toddler, accepted a ride.
Almost immediately after boarding, it was apparent the child was not breathing. The driver radioed his dispatcher who called California City police and emergency medical personnel, who met the bus when it reached the downtown intersection of Neuralia Road and California City Boulevard.
The child was pronounced dead at that time.
Pruitt said the toddler’s mother lives in the 8300 block of Eucalyptus Avenue in California City. He could not explain why the adult male was with the child so far out of town.
An autopsy will be scheduled to determine the child’s cause of death.
California City is about 70 miles east of Bakersfield.