Mom accused of tying up toddler as house burned

National

SANTA PAULA, Calif. (CNN) – Police believe a woman in Santa Paula, California put a plastic bag over her 3-year-old son’s head and tied him up while their home burned.

A 47-year-old mother is behind bars tonight after a fire broke out in her two story Santa Paula home on Sunday.

First responders found maricela ruiz tied up inside, her legs bound to a bed upstairs.

Ofc. Matthew rodriguez:

“She stated that 911 operator, that she was actually tied up. So we had a pretty sizable response,” said Officer Matthew Rodriguez.

In a different room her 3-year-old son also was tied up with a bag over his head.

“The little boy actually was frightened and he exited the bedroom where he had been placed alone and in an attempt to save himself and his mother.”

The two were rescued from the burning home and rushed to a local hospital.

But as the smoke cleared the air, detectives started piecing together evidence which eventually led them to believe Ruiz did it all herself, first tying up her son, then setting the place on fire.

Neighbors are bewildered.

“That just doesn’t make sense in any shape or form because– see the kids out here seem fine. I don’t know. You never know what kind of life people are living.,” said one neighbor.

“During the course of the investigation, we determined that she had actually called a couple of people before she called 911. One was her father, an elderly male who rushed to the house and also her elderly son. The father rushed to the house and they actually was able to get into the house and we believe maybe aided in the startling of the young boy,” said the officer.

Police say Ruiz staged the incident, but still don’t know exactly why.

“Looking at the possibility of a domestic dispute related to child custody.”

The child is safe, but with a traumatic event like this could be scarred for life.

“You know, you never want to see a little kid in that kind of situation, you never want to see anybody in that kind of situation. That’s when my heart kind of sank.”

Ruiz was booked on suspicion of felony child endangerment and is being held at the Ventura County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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