Alberto Rios Had A Barbecue

June 26, 2008 at 7:46 am by  

Update 8/22/08 – Alberto Rios has plead guilty to second-degree manslaughter in a plea deal that should get him about two years for the death of his son, Diego Rios-Santana Sentencing is scheduled for October 3. Read the original charging documents.

Alberto RiosSeattle, WA.-While this case has more questions than answers, two facts are alarmingly clear: Diego Rios, a 7-month old baby, is dead from smoke inhalation and burns over 100% of his body after ending up in an open fire pit. And Diego’s father, 38 year old Alberto Rios, is being held in King County Jail on $1M bond, for investigation of first-degree manslaughter.

Early Sunday morning, June 22nd, 911 dispatchers received a call about a baby that had been bitten by a dog, a second call came in reporting that a baby had been burned. When officers arrived at the Rios family home, they saw Alberto Rios holding a badly burned baby. Not only was the baby burned, he had a hole in his head.

This is how Alberto Rios describes the events leading up to the officer’s arrival:

There had been a party at the home the evening before and Alberto Rios admitted to drinking 3-6 beers. He also claimed to have been tired from a long day at work. After everyone had left the party, Rios went into the home. His wife said she thought the baby might be getting sick, so Rios suggested that Diego sleep outside with him. Not the first thing I would suggest for a sick baby, but…to each his own. Rios’ 4 year old daughter wanted to stay outside with her father as well and was allowed to do so.

Rios and the children went to sleep on a metal bench a few feet away from an open fire pit. Rios had the baby on his chest and his daughter by his side. When Rios woke up, both of his children were gone. He got up off the bench, went into the house and asked his wife if she knew where the baby was. When they returned outside, Rios found the baby in the fire pit. He tells officers that ‘he grabbed the baby out of the pit and scraped cinders off of his back.’ His wife ran to a neighbors house for help. When she returned, Rios was laying on the ground cradling the baby. Neighbors heard screaming and raced over to help, but it was already too late for little Diego.

The King County medical examiner’s office stated on Wednesday that the baby was alive when it entered the fire pit. The death has been ruled a homicide. So far, there has been no explanation for the hole in his head.

Police are still interviewing friends, family and neighbors but most seem to think this is a tragic accident. The prosecutor’s office has not yet decided whether or not any charges will be filed. If so, they will be filed within the next couple of days. A social worker has been in contact with Diego’s mother. Though grief stricken and angry, she has been cooperative with authorities and has agreed to a safety plan to keep the 4 year old safe.

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