BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A candlelight vigil was held for 2-year-old Ezekiel Rivera Tuesday night after he died Monday.
The toddler has been identified by his aunt. He was 2 years old and died just 24 days before his birthday.
On Monday, at about 11:30 p.m. there was a medical emergency on the 9000 block on Sentido Drive near Hillcrest Memorial Park. Ezekiel Rivera was unable to breathe.
A swarm of sheriff deputies flooded the neighborhood joined by firefighters and ambulance personnel. The dispatch call came through as a toddler might have been overdosing on drugs.
The sheriff’s office is waiting on the coroner to report how Rivera died. Fentanyl is still not confirmed.
From 2017 to 2021, 634 children died in Kern County according to the county’s child death review report. Of those kids, 109 were infants younger than 1 year old, 47 were toddlers between 1 and 4. There were 38 child homicide victims and 11 children died from drug overdoses.
“It’s very shocking to see all these child deaths because they all are preventable,” Chad Casto the Chairman of the Child Death Review Team said. “Just taking that extra second or the extra precaution could ultimately have them here today.”
The family of Ezekiel Rivera has a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs. Click here to donate.
The investigation is ongoing. If you have any information call the Kern County Sheriff’s Office at 661-861-3110 or the Secret Witness at 661-322-4040.