A Bakersfield man who confessed to cutting a baby out of his 39-weeks pregnant girlfriend dangled the boy outside a car window during a chase with law enforcement and later used the baby as a shield, according to court documents.
When the pursuit ended and Manuel Vela, 28, was arrested, deputies found the body of his girlfriend inside the car, the documents said.
"It appeared the baby had been removed from the deceased woman's body," investigators wrote in court documents.
The grisly details were contained in 84 pages of redacted court documents that became available Thursday.
Vela is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of the girlfriend and the baby and is being held without bail. Coroner's officials determined Rivera died of neck compression and the baby of asphyxiation.
The girlfriend, Katrina Rivera, 30, was first reported missing Dec. 8. A child of Rivera said she last saw her mother getting into Vela's car, documents said.
Deputies searched multiple locations and tried finding her through "pinging" her and Vela's cellphones, but were unsuccessful, documents said.
On Saturday, a witness reported seeing Vela at an apartment complex in the 2500 block of Haley Street, documents said. Deputies arrived and spotted Vela's maroon 2000 Hyundai Elantra.
Vela sped off, intentionally striking several vehicles as he tried to evade deputies, according to documents. He also used a tire iron to strike occupied vehicles as he drove past them.
Deputies rammed the car at least twice in an effort to stop him, documents said. They managed to spin the car, but Vela continued driving.
At some point, Vela began holding the baby outside the driver's side window. Deputies ceased ramming the car out of concern for the baby's safety.
A California Highway Patrol officer managed to lay down a spike strip in Vela's path. Vela veered toward but missed the officer; the spike strip, however, punctured two tires, and Vela pulled over on Mount Vernon Avenue near East Bakersfield High School and Kern Medical Center.
Vela got out of the vehicle and walked away holding the baby as a shield as multiple deputies ran toward him, documents said. He ignored commands to stop before throwing the baby in a gutter and running.
Several deputies tackled him and took him into custody with the assistance of a K9. Investigators said Vela punched and kicked deputies as they took him to the ground.
CPR was performed on the baby, who was pronounced dead at a local hospital, documents said. A doctor said he believed the baby had been alive earlier that day.
Taken to a Kern County sheriff's headquarters interview room, Vela at various times slept, spit, sang and talked to himself while alone, documents said. When investigators entered and questioned him, he spoke in different voices and assumed multiple personalities.
Vela told investigators he spent Dec. 8 arguing with Rivera about kids and going to the store for cigarettes. He said she had told him she didn't want to be with him anymore.
That evening, he hit her in the chin, knocking her to the ground, according to his statement to investigators. He said he then choked her for five minutes until he was sure she was dead.
Vela told investigators he placed her body in the back of his car and began driving around.
At some point, Vela stopped on Edison Highway and used a razor blade to cut out the baby, the documents said he told investigators. A box cutter blade was found on Rivera's stomach.
A sister of Vela told investigators her brother has been diagnosed as schizophrenic. Another person who knows Vela said that Vela had recently talked about the need to sacrifice someone to ISIS, documents said.
Vela's arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 21.
He pleaded guilty in June to a misdemeanor spousal abuse charge, court records show. He also has convictions for misdemeanor battery from 2009 and 2012.