Authorities in San Diego, Calif., have officially ruled the fall in the deaths of Raquel Wilkins, 40, and her son Denzel Browning-Wilkins, 2, a murder-suicide.
Authorities initially said the deaths of the woman and her son occurred under suspicious circumstances.
What are the details?
According to a Fox News report, Wilkins and her toddler were visiting San Diego Padres’ Petco Park in September when the two allegedly fell over the rail of a dining hall on the stadium’s third level.
The San Diego Police Department, in a statement, said detectives were able to determine, through interviews of the woman’s background, surveillance footage and eyewitness accounts, that the 40-year-old mother had jumped to dead while holding her 2-year-old son.
“Detectives conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation which included dozens of interviews, review of available video footage and gathering background information to determine what led to the deaths,” the statement said.
Attorney Dan Gilleon, who represents the Wilkins family, challenged the department’s decision and insisted the deaths were a horrific accident.
“The city does not want to explain why it concluded that a young mother would kill her only child at an event where witnesses said she was happy,” Gilleon said in a statement about the results of the investigation. . “To me, the city acts like any other defendant in a trial: blame the victim, especially if they are unable to defend themselves.”
Gilleon added on Wednesday: “The City of San Diego owns this stadium, they are legally responsible, assuming whatever brought it down was anything but their intention. The only way the city is not at fault is if she was planning to kill herself and her baby.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune in a Wednesday report on the determination recounted the events that led to the death of mother and son.
An eyewitness told local news stations in September that “Wilkins appeared to lose his balance after jumping twice on a bench near the railing on the stadium’s third level.”
Wilkins allegedly held his son while jumping onto benches near the third level railing.
Another eyewitness, who was eating near the mother and son, said a laughing Wilkins was seen holding his son as he jumped onto a picnic table bench near the railing – almost falling sideways .
“Wilkins lost his balance and fell off the bench, landing in the hall, according to the witness, who said he remarked to his son that the woman and the baby had almost fallen over the railing,” reads a part of the report. “About 30 seconds to a minute later, Wilkins again jumped onto the picnic table bench while holding the child, according to the witness, who said she told her son she couldn’t believe that the woman got up on the bench after falling the first time.”
The second eyewitness told the outlet that Wilkins “lost her balance again and this time fell overboard.”
“From my perspective, looking at her from behind, it was almost as if she had rolled over the railing,” the eyewitness added, and said a man with Wilkins and the child – assumed being the father of the child – “looked over the edge of the railing and seemed to be in shock.”