A California mother is under arrest for child endangerment after police allege she bound the hands of her 3-year-old son and placed a plastic bag over his head, leaving him alone in a bedroom inside a burning house.
The origin of the fire is still under investigation, the Santa Paula Police Department announced in a news release.
The mother, 47-year-old Maricela Magana Ruiz, of Santa Paula, was found bound by her legs to a bed in another room when the two were rescued by firefighters from the Ventura County Fire Department.
The discovery followed a cryptic 911 call placed by Ruiz at 6:10 p.m. Sunday, which reported a fire in the two-story residence “where a woman was tied to a bed and a young boy was in another part of the home,” according to police.
The fire in a downstairs living room was extinguished, and the mother and her son were taken to Santa Paula Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.
Police, fire and arson investigators quickly began a criminal investigation.
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In doing so, authorities learned that Ruiz had called several people, including her father, before placing the 911 call, Santa Paula Police Chief Matthew Rodriguez told TV station KTLA.
Police also determined that Ruiz had tied the toddler’s hands and covered his head with the bag, prompting the felony child endangerment charge. She was arrested at 1:06 a.m. Monday.
An attorney who might speak on the mother’s behalf was not identified.
Ruiz was booked into the Ventura County jail with bail set at $50,000. She attempted to post bail, until detectives learned of evidence that led to an additional felony charge of arson, said Santa Paula police Detective Christopher Rivera, reports KTLA.
The second charge comes with a $500,000 bail, according to records at the jail where Ruiz was being held Tuesday.
Rodriguez told KTLA that police are “looking at the possibility of a domestic dispute related to child custody.”