RPD investigates local toddler death

RPD investigates  local toddler deathBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

The Ridgecrest Police Department is investigating the death of a young child last month. Aydan Whitehead McGowen, almost two years old, died in the hospital after being found unresponsive at his home.

According to reports, officers responded to College Heights Apartments on Wednesday, July 25, after the child’s mother Jordan Whitehead, 19, called 911. According to reports, Whitehead said she was bathing the child after he had eaten and thrown up. After the bath she noticed that he had stopped breathing.

Other reports say she found Aydan face down in the bathtub. At press time it was unclear which report is more accurate as the incident is still under investigation.

According to reports, officers transported the toddler to Ridgecrest Regional Hospital where doctors were able to revive him. Aydan, who reportdly showed signs of severe bruising, was transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center where he died days later.

Whitehead was arrested on suspicion of child abuse, but no charges were filed as police more thoroughly investigate the matter. On Friday, Aug. 3, Whitehead was reportedly staying at a homeless shelter in Bakersfield where she was arrested on an unrelated assault with a deadly weapon, non-firearm charge.

Whitehead and her then partner Joshua McGowen both have a history of child abuse – pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of willful cruelty to a child in 2017. Both served several weeks in jail with four years’ probation.

In an interview from jail, Whitehead told Bakersfield’s KGET that the child’s death was an accident that she wasn’t prepared for.

“I wasn’t really thinking due to the fact that I’d never seen anything like that before,” she said.

She attributed the bruising to the fact that she tried to perform CPR on the child for 30 minutes before calling 911.

“Due to the fact that I don’t know infant CPR, I was doing regular CPR on him and it wasn’t to working, and then I started to panic and then my mind just started to shut down.

“It was an accident. Accidents happen and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in jail for something I didn’t do.”

Whitehead has a second, younger child who is currently in protective custody.

Whitehead’s pretrial conference for her assault charge is Aug. 17 in Bakersfield. She is still in custody on $17,500 bail.

Story First Published: 2018-08-10