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3-year-old boy killed in Lancaster home identified; Mother's boyfriend named a person of interest

Authorities have identified the 3-year-old boy whose neck was slashed in Lancaster earlier this week, and the investigation is continuing into his death.

Deputies responded just before 11 p.m. Tuesday to the 43400 block of 57th Street West, south of Avenue K, on a medical rescue call, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. When they arrived, deputies found a victim described only as a “male juvenile” suffering from a “laceration to the neck.”

David Jacques Hernandez of Lancaster died at a hospital, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner reported.

Sheriff’s officials were investigating the death as a homicide. The Los Angeles Times, citing unnamed sources, said the boy was found in a bathtub with his throat cut. The body was found by a family friend who went to the home at the behest of one of the boy’s relatives, the paper reported.

According to the sheriff’s department, deputies who responded to the home also found Rena Naulls, 39, at the home suffering from a “medical emergency.” Naulls, the live-in boyfriend of the child’s mother, tried “to take his own life” at the home, sheriff’s officials said.

Naulls was taken to a hospital, where he is considered to be in stable condition, according to the sheriff’s department.

“Mr. Naulls has been identified as a person of interest in this matter,” sheriff’s officials said in a statement. They stressed that no arrests have been made.

The biological father of the toddler, Herbett Hernandez, said he is utterly devastated over his child’s death and is in disbelief.

“What did he do for this psycho, monster, whoever, did that to my baby?” the elder Hernandez said.

The grieving father was in an on-again, off-again relationship with the boy’s mother for the last 13 years. They had been separated for the last four months.

According to the sheriff’s department, there were three other children in the home. All were unharmed and were placed in the custody of the County Department of Children and Family Services. The Times reported those children are ages 9, 11 and 14.

Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Tipsters may also use the website

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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