‘Lit up the room when he walked in’: Toddler who died of E. coli remembered

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SAN DIEGO — A toddler from National City who died after contracting E. coli linked to animals at the San Diego County Fair is remembered by family as an active, happy boy with a big personality.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Jedidiah King Cabezuela died on June 24. He had visited the fair on June 15 and became sick on June 19, according to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.

Cabezuela’s great uncle, Ed Sandford, described him as a ball of energy.

“Very, very active young boy who lit up the room when he walked in,” Sandford told FOX 5. “So active. So happy. Talking, laughing and just having a great time. That’s how I’ll always remember him.”

County health officials said Cabezuela visited the animals when he went to the fair on June 15. He reportedly started showing symptoms four days later.

Sanford said Cabezuela was rushed to the emergency room but was later sent home. He said the toddler was taken to the hospital two more times over the next few days when his symptoms got worse and was eventually moved to the ICU.

“They started getting concerned,” Sanford said.  “And when they got concerned, they got concerned really quick.”

Cabezuela died on June 24 from E. coli complications, county health officials said. Fair officials alerted the public soon after.

“I’m not mad at them. I think this has had the potential to happen probably for a while,” Sanford said. “A family should not have to worry about that. You’re there to have a good time.”

On Saturday, a bar and restaurant in Normal Heights hosted a fundraiser for the Cabezuela family. Local businesses donated more than 100 raffle prizes and the restaurant offered a buffet, organizers said.

“Such a rousing chorus of support from the entire community,” one attendee said of the fundraiser. “Hopefully that will help them through this time of crisis.”

A GoFundMe has also been set up to assist the family.

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