Deaths of mother, toddler at Petco Park ruled suicide-homicide

Sports

The San Diego Police Department on Wednesday revealed the conclusion of its investigation into the deaths of 40-year-old Raquel Wilkins and her 2-year-old son, Denzel Browning-Wilkins, at a Padres game on Sept. 25, 2021.

Wilkins and her son fell approximately 60 feet from the third concourse at Petco Park to the sidewalk below before the Padres game got underway. At the time, police considered the circumstances of their deaths “suspicious.” In a Wednesday statement, they classified the deaths as a suicide-homicide. The police said they reached that conclusion after consultation with the San Diego County medical examiner.

“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 read.

“SDPD understands the public’s concern and interest in this tragedy that happened publicly in a venue where the community gathers. We would like to thank all those who came forward with information.”

Dan Gilleon, an attorney for Wilkins’ family, disputed police findings, claiming her and her son’s deaths were an accident. He added that the conclusion of the investigation was an attempt to protect the city — which is a 70 percent stakeholder at Petco Park — from litigation. Per Yahoo! Sports, Gilleon is preparing a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of San Diego.

“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.”

Wilkins’ family also released a statement following the conclusion of police’s investigation, saying she never expressed suicidal tendencies or ideation.

“The family remembers Raquel as a person who was happy and loved life,” the family’s statement read. “In our experiences through her life, Raquel never expressed or displayed any self-harming tendencies.”

The Padres later released a statement to “reiterate our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of those involved in this tragedy.”

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