SAN DIEGO — Police have released the names of the mother and her young son who fell to their deaths at Petco Park before a game at the stadium last weekend, in an incident that remained under “exhaustive investigation” Wednesday.
Police say 40-year-old Raquel Wilkins was holding her 2-year-old son, Denzel Browning-Wilkins, when she tumbled over the railing of a third-level dining area just before the start of Saturday’s San Diego Padres game. Both were identified as San Diego residents and California Virtual Academies also confirmed Thursday that Wilkins was a lead teacher.
“The California Virtual Academies was saddened to hear about the loss of our beloved CAVA Lead Teacher Raquel Wilkins after her tragic death and the death of her son,” said April Warren, CAVA’s Head of School. “We send our heartfelt thoughts and wishes to her family and ask that you respect their privacy during these grieving times.”
A witness who saw the fall told FOX 5 this week that the woman appeared to lose her balance after jumping up on a bench near the railing. Police have deemed the deaths “suspicious” but have not provided many further details on their investigation into what caused the fall.
“The Police Department understands the interest in this tragic event and the questions that have arisen. How and why this happened are questions on the mind of many, especially the investigators looking for answers in this heartbreaking case,” SDPD said in a statement Wednesday.
“Due to the large crowd present at the time of the incident, detectives have been interviewing numerous witnesses and more are coming forward. In order to complete a comprehensive investigation, we are gathering background information and analyzing evidence.”
Anyone with information was asked to call the SDPD Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or report to Crime Stoppers — where tipsters can remain anonymous — at 888-580-8477.
Speaking Monday, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria called the falling deaths “horrifically tragic.” He noted there were “a lot of unusual circumstances around the case” that continue to be investigated.
According to the witness interviewed by FOX 5 earlier this week, the mother who fell — now identified as Wilkins — seemed to be joking around and laughing shortly before the incident.
Wilkins then “started jumping on the bench of the table closest to the railing, holding the baby in her arms,” according to the witness. “She lost her balance and fell off the bench. I remarked to my son, ‘Oh my gosh she almost fell.’”
The police department said Wednesday that it’s still sorting through varying accounts from other people in the crowd surrounding Wilkins. Lt. Andra Brown promised further updates “when appropriate.”
FOX 5’s Dillon Davis contributed to this report.