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Los Angeles man charged in 3-year-old's random stabbing death

CBS News


A Los Angeles man was charged Thursday with the stabbing death of a 3-year-old girl randomly attacked just steps from her parents at their workplace.

Ricardo Utuy, 34, was charged with murder in the girl's death and attempted murder a separate attack on a woman in March.

Utuy's arraignment was set for later Thursday. It's unclear if he has an attorney.

The 3-year-old girl, whom police called "Baby Ruby," was with her parents Monday at the clothing factory where they and Utuy work when she left her mother's side to give her father a cookie.

That's when prosecutors say Utuy attacked the girl, stabbing her multiple times with a knife.

The wounded girl was able to make it back to her mother with Utuy closely behind her before he fled, prosecutors said.

Although 911 was called, the girl's mother flagged down an ambulance faster and the girl was rushed to the hospital, where she died of her injuries, Los Angeles Police Capt. Julian Melendez said.

He said Utuy had been working at the factory for a couple weeks and hadn't interacted much with the girl's parents.

The attempted-murder charge against Utuy stems from an attack on a woman at another factory in March. Prosecutors said Utuy stabbed the woman and fled.

Melendez said the woman reported the stabbing to police at the time, but investigators had very few details about Utuy and were unable to track him down.

Although the woman came forward after police released a photo of Utuy, Melendez said Utuy separately told investigators he had previously stabbed a female co-worker and a man named Alex. Detectives are looking for the man.

"It's a win to get somebody like this off the streets," Melendez said.

As for the motive in the girl's stabbing, investigators have said Utuy was acting strangely beforehand, talking and laughing to himself, but didn't immediately know why.

Oscar Cerezo owns a shop next door. He said Ruby was playful and cute, and he's shocked at what happened.

"It was sad because you don't expect anything like this, especially a little girl, three year-old little girl," he told CBS Los Angeles .

It's unclear if Utuy has an attorney. He faces life in prison if convicted.