A father was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder after his 7-year-old daughter ran onto Highway 101 in the middle of the night and was hit by a vehicle.
Jermain Gonzalez, 42, of Prunedale, was arrested by California Highway Patrol officers after a 3-month investigation.
Monterey County prosecutors charged Gonzales with second-degree murder and felony child endangerment.
The CHP described the case as “disturbing.”
On April 7, the girl left her father’s Prunedale home and ran onto Highway 101. CHP said she was hit in the southbound lanes at 10:48 p.m.
Investigators reveal that the girl was on the autism spectrum and this is not the first time she had ran off.
The CHP wrote, “The child lived with Gonzalez and was under his custody. Gonzalez was fully aware of his daughter’s strong propensity to elope. Despite this knowledge, Gonzalez failed to provide essential safety and security measures for his child. Furthermore, he knowingly and willingly displayed negligence, endangering the child over an extended period, which ultimately led to the death of his daughter.”
Family members identified the girl as 7-year-old Eliana.
Three weeks before she was fatally hit, she was rescued by CHP officers who found her running on Highway 101 late at night.