Crime - Sacto 911

Family members await more details about baby Justice’s death

Yolo County investigators prepare to leave the scene where the lifeless body of 20-day-old Justice Rees was found Wednesday morning. County sheriff’s and coroner’s spokesman Capt. Larry Cecchettini said the baby’s body was “located in a thicket of brush right off the slough.”
Yolo County investigators prepare to leave the scene where the lifeless body of 20-day-old Justice Rees was found Wednesday morning. County sheriff’s and coroner’s spokesman Capt. Larry Cecchettini said the baby’s body was “located in a thicket of brush right off the slough.” hamezcua@sacbee.com

Samantha Green’s father says family members continue to wait for new word from investigators probing the death of Justice Rees, the woman’s 3-week-old infant found dead this week near Knights Landing.

“We’re just waiting. We’re just playing a waiting game right now,” Randy Green said Friday from the doorway of his Sacramento home.

Justice Rees is at the tragic center of a bizarre case that has confounded investigators in the days since a distraught Samantha Green, 23, of Woodland made a panicked emergency call to Yolo County sheriff’s dispatchers Tuesday afternoon near remote Ridge Cut Slough. Deputies found Green, scratched, wet and sobbing in a backyard near the slough, her baby missing.

Samantha Green’s car was spotted near the opposite end of the slough. Authorities believe she drove her own car to the slough area, but that she did not know why she was there.

Seventeen hours later on Wednesday morning, searchers found the infant’s body in deep brush. Preliminary autopsy results released Thursday suggested the baby’s death was possibly caused by drowning or hypothermia, and that the infant likely died before deputies launched their search Tuesday, said Yolo County sheriff’s officials. Further testing and toxicology results could take months, sheriff’s officials said.

Medical examiners found the baby appeared to be in good health and saw no signs of abuse. Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto on Thursday said authorities had no evidence the infant was a victim of a homicide, calling the case a “whodunit.”

Prieto on Thursday said his investigators have not been able to substantiate claims by family members that Green had been abducted and abused before calling for help Tuesday afternoon.

“We just haven’t been able to confirm it,” Prieto said Thursday.

Yolo County sheriff’s officials did not provide an update Friday.

Samantha Green was briefly admitted to a Yolo County hospital, but was released Wednesday morning. On Friday, Randy Green said his daughter is “not doing good. She has a lot of stress – she’s not doing well.”

A few minutes later, a telephone rang inside the house. Randy Green said he had to get inside. The family had funeral arrangements to make.

Call The Bee’s Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.

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