December 8, 2010
FAIRFIELD, Calif. -- The foster parent accused of shaking a baby to death appeared in a Solano County courtroom Wednesday, while the child’s family members were asking some tough questions of child welfare officials.
53-year-old Reginald Tanubagijo pleaded not guilty to shaking Christian Bito O'Campo to death last week.
Prosecutors said Tanubagijo shook the child on November 29th. The child never regained consciousness and was taken off life support Sunday afternoon.
Tanubagijo's attorney Jaye Ryan-Maas said this was all just a tragedy and that her client will be exonerated.
“This is a terrible tragedy and my client is innocent,” said Ryan-Maas. “Follow along. You'll see it in the court proceedings.”
The boy's relatives said Solano County child welfare services took Christian shortly after he was born when methamphetamines were found in his system.
His mother Christina Bito said she was trying to work out her problems and trusted the county to look after Christian.
“I'm more hurt than angry, because i thought I could depend on the county to help me,” said Bito. “And they just let me down.”
Now the boy's family is asking tough questions of the county’s child welfare system.
Christian's uncle and Aunt Dee Dee Bito were willing to take the baby in and were in the process of getting approved by the county to take custody. But they said the social worker in charge of their case went on vacation and the file was put on the back burner until it was too late.
“We wanted Christian out of foster care and with family,” said Dee Dee Bito.
The county said Christian’s death was a tragedy and that all foster parents undergo a rigorous background check.
“There are statewide requirements on how to do that, and we meet or exceed all those standards to make sure the kids are into a loving family home,” said Solano County Spokesperson Stephen Pierce.
Three-month-old Christian will be buried on Saturday. The man accused of shaking him to death will be back in court next week.