Crime

Officials name fatally injured toddler; Orcutt man charged

The name of the 18-month-old girl allegedly murdered by her mother’s Orcutt boyfriend has been released.

Delilah Cassio-Molina was pronounced brain dead Tuesday at Valley Children’s Healthcare in Madera, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said.

The child’s mother, 21-year-old Jackeline Molina-Rodriguez, is from Oceano.

Molina-Rodriguez initially took her daughter to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria on Sunday afternoon, but medical staff decided the toddler needed to be transferred to the Madera hospital.

Delilah was pronounced brain dead midday Tuesday, and all life-saving measures were halted.

“The Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office is in the process of conducting a death investigation, and an official cause and manner of death has not yet been determined,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. “Due to the active investigation, no additional details will be released at this time.”

Deputies were called to the hospital after it was determined that Delilah’s injuries were inconsistent with the information provided by the mother.

After an investigation, the mother’s boyfriend, Sean Michael Kothe, 24, was charged with murder, along with assault on a child causing death.

After serving a search warrant at Kothe’s residence on the 4800 block of Crestwood Drive in Orcutt, detectives initially arrested Kothe for an outstanding warrant and on suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office later added the charges in connection with the child’s death, and Kothe made his first count appearance Wednesday.

Kothe was ordered to return to court Wednesday, and he remained in custody with bail set at $1 million.

Hoover said that Molina-Rodriguez and the toddler had recently been staying in Orcutt.

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