El Dorado County DA: Charges filed in 2008 death of baby in South Lake Tahoe
May 23, 2018
Nearly 10 years after the death of a 3-week-old boy in South Lake Tahoe, the baby's father is being accused of killing the infant.
The El Dorado County District Attorney's Office filed charges against David Paul DeMartile Sr. Tuesday in the 2008 death of David Paul DeMartile Jr.
The DA's office announced the development in the cold case earlier today.
The case dates back to Nov. 14, 2008, when the elder DeMartile called 911 for a medical emergency involving his 3-week-old son.
South Lake Tahoe police and medical personnel responded and treated the baby at the scene before transporting him to the hospital, where the child was pronounced dead, according to Assistant District Attorney Joe Alexander.
The initial cause of death was believed to be sudden infant death syndrome. However, there were some unexplained circumstances that ultimately led authorities to conduct an autopsy.
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The results of the examination revealed that the cause of death was consistent with child abuse, Alexander told the Tribune. The autopsy results launched an official criminal investigation into the death.
At some point the investigation was labeled a cold case, meaning that obvious leads had dried up. That kicked the case to the El Dorado County Cold Case Task Force, a team comprised of the DA's office, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department and the California Department of Justice.
Eventually staff changes on the task force led to the case being reexamined.
Through continued work, investigators reached a point that they felt they could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that DeMartile was guilty.
There was no single piece of evidence that led investigators to that point, Alexander said. Rather it was the totality of the investigation over nearly 10 years.
Alexander, though, would not comment on the status of the baby's mother, who was at the residence when DeMartile called 911.
"She is not charged but beyond that I don't have any comment as to the mom's status."
DeMartile is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence related to a burglary charge in 2017 in El Dorado County.
DeMartile has a lengthy criminal record, including eight different criminal cases with El Dorado County Superior Court, according to court records.
In December 2008, DeMartile was charged with assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury; battery with serious bodily injury; and two additional counts of battery, according to court documents.
DeMartile also was charged in 2016 with injuring a spouse, cohabitant, fiance, boyfriend, girlfriend or child's parent; and false imprisonment by violence. The "dating partner" identified in court documents is different than the baby's mother.
DeMartile is currently in prison out of state on a contract between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and an outside party.
The DA's office is asking he be returned to El Dorado County so he can be arraigned.
DeMartile, who is innocent until proven guilty, faces one count of murder and one count of felony child abuse resulting in death or great bodily injury.
An arraignment date has not been set.