San Diego, California, authorities have officially ruled that the falling deaths of 40-year-old Raquel Wilkins and her 2-year-old son Denzel Browning-Wilkins were a murder-suicide.
Authorities initially stated that the deaths of the woman and her son came under suspicious circumstances.
What are the details?
According to a report from Fox News, Wilkins and her toddler were visiting the San Diego Padres' Petco Park in September when the two were said to have fallen over the rail of a third-level dining area in the stadium.
The San Diego Police Department in a statement said that detectives were able to determine through interviews on the woman's background, surveillance footage, and eyewitness testimony that the 40-year-old mother jumped to her death while holding her 2-year-old son.
"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 explained.
Attorney Dan Gilleon, who is representing the Wilkins family, disputed the department's ruling and insisted that the deaths were a horrific accident.
"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 statement on the investigation's outcome. "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."
Gilleon on Wednesday added, "The city of San Diego owns that ballpark, it is legally responsible, assuming that what caused her to fall was anything but her intent. The only way the city is not at fault is if she intended to kill herself and her baby.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune in a Wednesday report on the determination recounted the events that led up to the deaths of the mother and son.
An eyewitness told local news stations in September that “Wilkins appeared to lose her balance after twice jumping up on a bench near the railing on the third level of the stadium.”
Wilkins was said to be holding her son when jumping on benches near the third-level railing.
Another eyewitness, who was eating near the mother and her son, said that a laughing Wilkins was seen holding her son while jumping on a picnic table bench near the railing — nearly falling over the side.
"Wilkins lost her balance and fell off the bench, landing back on the concourse, according to the witness, who said she remarked to her son that the woman and baby had almost tumbled over the railing," a portion of the report read. "About 30 seconds to a minute later, Wilkins again jumped onto the bench of the picnic table while holding the child , according to the witness, who said she commented to her son that she couldn’t believe the woman had stood back up on the bench after falling the first time."
The second eyewitness told the outlet that Wilkins "again lost her balance and this time, fell over the edge."
"From my vantage point, looking at her back, it was almost like she rolled over the railing," the eyewitness added, and said that a man with Wilkins and the child — believed to be the child's father — was "looking over the edge of the railing and appeared to be in shock."