UPLAND, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS) — Police continue to investigate the horror that unfolded inside an Upland apartment before a mother of two threw her baby boy and herself off a two-story balcony.
“It just blows my mind,” said neighbor Geraldine Jimerson.
Jimerson can only speculate based on the haunting sounds she heard through their shared wall Tuesday morning.
“Boom! Like somebody ran against the wall,” she said. “Maybe that thump, maybe she threw the baby against the wall.”
On Wednesday, police identified the 6-month-old victim as Ezlynn Ortega. First responders found her inside the apartment unresponsive. It was later determined she suffered a fractured skull.
Police charged her mother 24-year-old Tierra Ortega with her murder and attempted murder of her one-year-old son Jerricho.
“When I opened my blinds, this lady was dangling her baby,” said neighbor Monica Mchaskell.
Mchaskell said seconds later, she saw the mother throw Jerricho over the railing and onto the concrete below.
But first, she says Ortega threw a child’s ball down into the courtyard.
“It looked like she was saying, ‘You want this ball? Go get it,’” Mchaskell said.
She fears she’ll never get that image out of her mind.
“All I knew is there was a baby on the ground I had to pick up. That’s cut and dry for me,” she said.
But in that state of shock, Mchaskell ran outside, raced Jerricho back into her apartment and called 911.
The trauma of taking it upon herself to rescue him sent her to the hospital with a panic attack.
“I’m not family, but here I come,” Mchaskell said.
She hopes to go back to the hospital where the baby boy is recovering with a broken foot to give him a message.
“I want Jerricho to know, ‘People, your neighbors, love you. You are so loved.’ ‘Cause he is,” Mchaskell said.