Tragedy struck an apartment complex in Lancaster, resulting in the loss of two children’s lives and injuries to two others in what authorities suspect to be a “possible child abuse attack.”
The father of the four children is currently detained as a “person of interest” in this harrowing incident.
The devastating discovery unfolded when the mother of the victims dialed 911 for urgent assistance at an apartment located in the 1800 block of East Avenue J-2, just west of 20th Street East, shortly before midnight on a Saturday. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to the call, which indicated that “children were being harmed at the location,” according to an official news release.
Upon arrival at the scene, deputies made contact with a distressed woman and proceeded to search the premises. Inside one of the bedrooms, they discovered four children who had suffered “lacerations to their bodies,” as stated in the sheriff’s report.
The young victims, all under the age of 10, were promptly transported to a hospital for medical attention. Tragically, two of them were declared deceased upon arrival, while the other two were reported to be in stable condition, with injuries that, thankfully, were not life-threatening.
A man, initially labeled a “person of interest,” was taken into custody at the location. He was later identified as Prospero Serna, a resident of San Bernardino County and the biological father of the four children.
News footage captured the apprehension of the man, who was subdued by two sheriff’s deputies following a struggle. Additional deputies arrived to provide assistance.
Homicide investigators swiftly intervened and assumed control of the ongoing investigation. While the exact location of the tragic incident remains unclear, all four children were found within the same bedroom, as confirmed by Lt. Daniel Vizcarra of the Sheriff’s Department.
This heart-wrenching incident has deeply affected all parties involved, with Lt. Vizcarra acknowledging its traumatic nature, stating, “It’s extremely difficult. This is traumatizing for everybody who’s involved. All the deputies who responded, all the parties involved, the investigators, everyone.”
The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) declined to comment on whether the family had previously been under investigation for potential child abuse. They emphasized that state law mandates the confidentiality of records related to children and families who have had interactions with child protective services.
In a statement, DCFS expressed deep sadness and concern regarding the situation, saying, “As a workforce dedicated to the safety and well-being of Los Angeles County’s children and families, we are deeply disturbed and saddened to learn of the deaths of two young children in the City of Lancaster and injuries sustained by two others as reported by” the Sheriff’s Department. The agency reiterated the confidentiality of such records, refraining from confirming or commenting on any past involvement of the family with their department.