Detectives submit child-endangerment case to prosecutors

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies work to keep a child from falling through a window screen on the second floor of an apartment building. Austin Dave/The Signal

Parents of a girl rescued Wednesday by firefighters and sheriff’s deputies after the girl was found pushing on a second-floor window screen, remained in custody Thursday, expected to appear in court on suspicion of cruelty to a child that is likely to produce injury or death.

The rescued girl’s parents, Lucia Romero and Gerren Mitchell, each 28, mother and father respectively, were arrested Wednesday.

Romero was taken into custody and brought to the SCV Sheriff’s Station, where she was booked at 5:40 p.m.

Deputies did the same with Mitchell, booking him into custody at 8:15 p.m.

Each parent faces a felony charge of cruelty to a child likely to produce injury or death. Bail for each parent was set at $100,000.

“Detectives are filing their case with the (Los Angeles County) District Attorney’s Office today,” Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station, said Thursday.

“And, they are investigating the case further, looking into the history of the suspects,” she said.

The little girl remains in the care of the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services, one DCFS official confirmed.

She was turned over to social workers after firefighters with the Los Angeles County Fire Department forced their way into the apartment where the girl was seen leaning against a second-floor window screen.

Multiple phone calls seeking comment from the DCFS office on Avenue Stanford in Valencia and to media representatives designated to speak to reporters were not returned Thursday.

It remains unknown if the child has — according to the protocol spelled out on the DCFS website — been placed with relatives or foster parents.

A Santa Clarita woman who posted on social media wrote that she and her mother called 911 when they spotted the girl at the window.

“We need to make a DCFS report,” the woman posted. “We’ve had suspicion that she was being left alone but no one to prove it until today.”

Detectives investigating the case, according to Miller, are also acting on suspicions the child had been left alone on prior occasions.

The harrowing experience began for the child at 1:50 p.m., when a resident resident called the SCV Sheriff’s Station regarding the small child, saying she was suspected to be home alone and was crying and leaning on a window screen from inside an upper-level apartment, Miller said Wednesday.

Deputies were prepared to catch the young girl if the screen gave out, while others yelled up to her repeatedly to “go sit on your bed” or “step back from window,” to which the young girl was unresponsive, according to witnesses.

About 2:10 p.m., firefighters forced their way into the apartment and scooped up the child who was then taken to the hospital.

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