Youngster killed in West Sacramento; suspect in custody

Derrick Woods was arrested Tuesday in connection with the murder of a 1-year-old girl whose brother was also injured, according to West Sacramento police. Courtesy photo

A man suspected of causing fatal injuries to a 1-year-old child in West Sacramento was arrested Tuesday after a 24-hour manhunt across the area.

Derrick Woods, 43, was taken into custody around noon at an undisclosed Sacramento residence where West Sacramento Police, with the assistance of the Sacramento Police and Yolo District Attorney investigators, were serving a warrant for murder.

Woods is also suspected of injuring the little girl’s older brother, who was reportedly hospitalized as a result.

While Woods waited for the booking at the Yolo County Jail on Tuesday, the Yolo County Coroner’s office held back to reveal the victim’s identity until an autopsy was performed, which Chief Deputy Coroner Gina Moya says is scheduled for Wednesday.

Officers found the girl dead in a motel room on West Capitol Avenue around noon on Monday in what they termed “traumatic injuries.” There they were asked to do a social check. Her injured brother was also in the room.

Witnesses reported seeing Woods flee the area on foot before the officers arrived.

Sgt. Eric Angle, spokesman for the West Sacramento Police Department, told The Davis Enterprise that Woods was not biologically related to the children but had been in a relationship with their mother for six months.

The murder was one of two tragedies that took place in West Sacramento on Monday. That night, a traffic accident on Jefferson Boulevard resulted in the lives of two people who were in one of the vehicles.

Five people were injured in the two car collision, including a man who ultimately died on the scene and a woman who said Sgt. Stefan Iwanicki at a local hospital. Two children who were also in their car are in stable condition.

According to Iwanicki, alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor in the crash.

Rob Strange, the city’s interim police chief, offered condolences to the victims’ families in a statement on social media, describing the community as “reeling from the losses.”

“Loss of life in our church always hurts. Yesterday’s tragedies are even harder to take with victims so young and innocent and a suspect still at large, ”Strange wrote in the statement he released before Woods’ arrest.

Strange’s message included links to various resources “for those stressed by the challenges of COVID-19 and other family and life pressures,” including:

The Yolo County Child Abuse Prevention Council:

Mental health services are available through the county:…/men…/mental-health-services

National Alliance for Mental Illness – Yolo County:

Monday wasn’t the first time in recent years that West Sacramento first responders had had such heartache.

It happened in September 2017 when they replied to an apartment that had three young children – Kelvin Hodges, 11; Julie Hodges, 9; and Lucas Hodges, 7 months – were fatally strangled by their father, Robert William Hodges, who also tried to kill his wife because of the family’s financial problems.

Hodges later pleaded guilty to his crimes, for which he served a life sentence without parole.

The tragedy resurrected less than four months later when sisters Sophia and Sara Rouin died in suicide, aged 12 and 9, respectively. Her father, Hamdy Rouin, set his vehicle on fire as the three of them sat inside, waiting for a planned custody swap with the girls’ mother.

– Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

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