Residents of a southwest neighborhood were stunned Wednesday following the discovery of a newborn baby buried in a backyard and the arrests of two people at the home.
Police on Tuesday discovered a slain infant in a flower bed in the backyard of a home in the 5200 block of Shining Crag Avenue, west of Stine Road and south of Panama Lane.
An investigation found a juvenile had given birth to a live child at the home in November.
Within hours of the birth, police said, the baby was taken from the mother by Beant Kaur Dhillon and killed at the residence, located in a neighborhood of newer homes and described as consisting of mostly Sikh residents.
Dhillon, a 43-year-old woman, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of murder and willful cruelty to a child. The department said officers also arrested 47-year-old Jagsir Singh, a man, on suspicion of aiding a felon, child cruelty and conspiracy.
Two children living in the residence — including the girl who gave birth — were taken into protective custody.
'A really nice neighborhood'
"It just kind of shocked me," said 42-year-old Gary Singh. "This is a really nice neighborhood."
While predominantly Sikh, the neighborhood has residents of different backgrounds and cultures who live in harmony, Gary Singh said. Most days residents can be seen walking on the sidewalks and talking with neighbors.
Around 11 a.m. Tuesday, Gary Singh said, he saw five or six police cruisers parked outside the residence where the infant's body was found. A few hours later, a Crime Scene Unit van was at the house.
Gary Singh said a neighbor told him he witnessed a man and woman being taken away in handcuffs.
Houses in the neighborhood are large, some with five bedrooms or more, and Gary Singh said prices range from $360,000 to more than $400,000.
"Who would do something like that if they can afford a $400,000 home?" he said.
Teen reached out to someone
Bakersfield police Sgt. Nathan McCauley said police are withholding the relationship of Dhillon and Singh to the juvenile as they don't want to identify the girl. The juvenile's age was not released, but McCauley said she is a teenager.
The investigation began when police received a call for service Tuesday to check on the welfare of the teen. McCauley said the teen had reached out to someone, and a third party contacted police.
No further charges are pending at this time, McCauley said. The investigation is ongoing.
Nick Suarez, 33, lives near the residence where Dhillon and Jagsir Singh were arrested. He said he used to live in a rough neighborhood in east Bakersfield, and moved here with his daughter for a safer environment.
Suarez said he sometimes saw the home's residents outside but didn't interact with them. He said some of the homes have two or more families living in them to help alleviate the cost.
He still considers the neighborhood safe. But Tuesday's news left him unsettled.
"It's just pretty crazy," Suarez said.
Dhillon and Jagsir Singh are scheduled to be in court Thursday.
Anyone with information is asked to call 326-3558 or 327-7111.