San Diego police have determined the causes of death of a 40-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son whoof San Diego's Petco Park, just as thousands of baseball fans were heading inside for a Padres game last year.
Raquel Wilkins' death on September 25, 2021, has been classified as a suicide, and her son Denzel Browning-Wilkins' death has been classified as a homicide, the San Diego Police Department said in a statement Wednesday.
"The detectives conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation that included dozens of interviews, reviewing of available video footage, and collecting background information to determine what led to the deaths," the statement said.
The determinations were made in consultation with the San Diego County Medical Examiner, police said.
The pair fell from the third level concourse — the equivalent of six stories high — to the sidewalk below on Tony Gwynn Drive, police said at the time. After the incident, police told the Union-Tribune that the deaths "appeared to be."
Dan Gilleon, an attorney for Wilkins' family, disputed the findings and said the deaths were a tragic accident. He said the investigation's conclusion is meant to shield the city from potential litigation.
"The city doesn't want to explain why it concluded that a young mother would kill her only child at an event where witnesses said she was happy," Gilleon said in a text to The Associated Press. "To me, the city is acting like any other defendant in a lawsuit: blame the victim, especially if they are not able to defend themselves."
CBS affiliate KFMB-TV reports that that Wilkins' family denied allegations made in an old court case in which an ex-boyfriend claimed the mother had a history of suicidal behavior. "The family remembers Raquel as a person who was happy and loved life. In our experiences through her life, Raquel never expressed or displayed any self harming tendencies," the family said in a statement.
After the police department's announcement on Wednesday, the Padres issued a statement, saying the team wants to "reiterate our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of those involved in this tragedy."
If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, there is help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text a crisis counselor at 741741 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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