PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — Investigators in El Dorado County announced an arrest in a nearly 10-year-old cold case.
“More than anything else it was old-fashioned police work,” said Vern Pierson, the El Dorado County District Attorney.
In November 2008, police were called to the home of David DeMartile in South Lake Tahoe. His three-week-old child was unresponsive.
“They were suspicious from the very beginning about the circumstances,” said Pierson.
At first, they believed to be the result of sudden infant death syndrome. Further investigation found other clues. The autopsy that was done shortly after the child’s death revealed internal injuries consistent with child abuse, but investigators within the district attorney’s office say the autopsy alone, wasn’t enough for charges.
“They were confident they knew who did it, but it was just a matter of getting to the point where we could prove it,” said Pierson.
Pierson says the case went cold with few leads for years, until recently.
“They put a significant amount of time and effort into it over the last few months,” said Pierson.
Pierson says investigators from his office and the South Lake Tahoe Police Department were able to put together a stronger case based on the new information from interviews.
“What additional information can we come up with, how can we tie this together and get to a point where we can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Pierson.
The new evidence was enough to charge David DeMartile with felony child abuse and murder.
“The tenacity on the part of investigators not wanting to let the case go,” said Pierson.
DeMartile is currently serving a 14-year sentence in federal prison for burglary charges. Investigators say the child’s mother is a transient who at last check was in Nevada.