LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas father is facing several charges after police say he left his baby in a bathtub while he slept in another room and the child drowned, according to a police report.
On Oct. 21, at around 3:15 p.m., officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department were called to an apartment in the 5200 block of East Bobbie Jo Lane near Cedar Avenue and Nellis Boulevard.
Dispatch told officers that a baby was not breathing, the report stated. Officers found the baby and took over CPR from the father until the Clark County Fire Department arrived and took the baby to the hospital. The child was pronounced dead shortly after 4 p.m., according to the report.
The father, identified as Alejandro “Alex” Patoja, 22, told police he lived in the apartment with his girlfriend and their children. He told police that his girlfriend was at work, one of their kids was at a family member’s home, and the other two kids were with him at the time of the drowning.
One of the children was found unharmed inside the apartment sitting naked in a stroller, the report stated.
Police said the apartment was a mess and water “covered much of the floor.”
Detectives spoke to Patoja at the hospital, who told them he went to work at 10 p.m. the night before. He worked overnights until 7 a.m. and took the bus home, the report stated.
Patoja said he got home at around 8:15 a.m. and his apartment was empty because his children spent the night at his father’s house. Two of the children were dropped off at around 8:30 a.m. and Patoja’s father took the third to Patoja’s sister’s house for the day, according to the report.
Patoja changed his story a few times throughout the interview, officer said.
He told police that he and the two kids ate breakfast before he noticed the baby’s diaper was dirty. He took her to the shower to wash her off, then left her in the shower to “calm her down” because she was crying, the report stated.
“I was really just letting her chill in the shower to let her calm down because she was crying,” Patoja told police. “She calmed down and I just let her sit there for a little bit.”
Patoja said the baby was in a shower chair, which was plastic with small holes to drain the water. He positioned the showerhead so the water was hitting the baby from the chest down, according to the report.
Patoja told police he then went to the bedroom where the other child was sleeping. He told police that he sat down next to the child and “knocked out” for around 20-30 minutes.
When he woke up, he found the child in the hallway, wet and “dripping water” before he ran to the bathroom, the report said.
“Everything was all [expletive]’d up out there,” he told police.
When Patoja entered the bathroom, the floor was wet and the water in the bathtub was turned off. He told police he found the baby floating on her back in the water, according to the report.
Patoja grabbed the baby and ran to his bedroom, where he attempted to perform CPR, based on “what he had seen on TV.” After about a minute, Patoja took the baby to a neighbor’s apartment to call for help because he did not have a phone.
The neighbor told police she heard a “frantic knock” and saw Patoja holding the baby. She said the baby’s complexion was “lavender” and mucus was coming out of her nose. The baby’s eyes were open, but “nothing was there,” according to the report.
The neighbor said she overheard Patoja say the baby was left in the bathtub for an hour.
The police report stated that there was an estimated six and a half hours between when Patoja got the children from his father and when the 911 call was placed.
While talking with the police, Patoja said he knew it was unsafe to leave babies in the shower.
“I know I’m one hundred percent responsible,” Patoja told police, the report stated. “I feel like I’m not responsible enough for babies.”
When asked why he left the baby in the shower and went to the bedroom to sleep, Patoja said it was because “nothing has ever really happened before with his other kids,” according to the report.
Patoja was voluntarily taken into custody on Nov. 1. He was booked into the Clark County Detention Center where he faces charges of murder in the second degree and child abuse/neglect resulting in substantial bodily harm.
His next court appearance was scheduled for Nov. 7.