Mother charged in toddler’s beating death released on bail
EL CAJON, Calif. — An East County woman whose toddler son died from injuries allegedly inflicted by her live-in boyfriend pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a felony child endangerment charge.
Renee Fournier, 28, faces up to six years in state prison if convicted.
Fournier was arrested last week in connection with the death of 19-month- old Lucas Orlando at an apartment on Arnold Way in Alpine, according to sheriff’s officials.
The defendant — who remains free on $100,000 bail — was ordered to return to court Feb. 29 for a readiness conference.
About 1:45 p.m. on Jan. 11, deputies responding to an emergency at Fournier’s rental residence found her son gravely injured, said sheriff’s Lt. Kenneth Nelson. Her boyfriend, 29-year-old Navy corpsman Brett Brown, told deputies Lucas had been hurt in a fall. Fournier was at work at the time, authorities said.
Brown had been watching the boy that day along with his girlfriend’s other child and two of his own from a former relationship, according to Nelson. Paramedics took Lucas to Rady Children’s Hospital, where he died two days later.
Detectives investigating the fatality soon determined that the trauma the boy suffered was too severe to have occurred as Brown described it, the lieutenant said.
Brown — who was on military leave at the time of the child’s death — was arrested Jan. 14 at a Shelter Island hotel. He pleaded not guilty to murder and child abuse charges.
During Brown’s arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Chantal de Mauregne told Judge Patricia Cookson that the victim had multiple skull fractures and two broken bones — one each in an arm and a leg — that had been healing. The toddler also had bruising on his body, the prosecutor said.