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California Man Who Fled After Burying his Murdered Newborn Son Arrested in Canada

California Man Who Fled After Burying his Murdered Newborn Son Arrested in Canada

  • Bakhshinderpal Singh Mann, who was wanted for accessory to murder and statutory rape, assisted his aunt, Beant Kaur Dhillon, to bury the infant in their backyard, after she drowned him in the bathtub of their home.

Bakhshinderpal Singh Mann, who is involved in the death of a newborn infant in California in 2018, was arrested in Canada earlier this month. He was wanted for accessory to murder and statutory rape, and will be extradited to Kern County in California soon. 

Mann, 26, buried his newborn son, along with his aunt, Beant Kaur Dhillon, the grandmother. Mann fathered the child with his 15-year-old cousin, who was Dhillon’s daughter. Dillon was sentenced earlier this month for 25 years to life, plus 4 years. She was found guilty of first-degree murder, among other charges in December. 

Mann was in the country illegally, according to the  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was initially encountered by the U.S. Border Patrol in July 2016 when he illegally entered the country. In October 2016, ICE released Mann from custody with a GPS-monitoring device pending removal proceedings before the immigration court. He reportedly fled Bakersfield after the incident, and eventually went to Toronto, where he was found on March 15.

Preventing Family Shame

During her trial, Dhillon told the court that she was in her bedroom on Nov. 18, 2018 when she heard an infant crying. When she followed the cry, she found her daughter unconscious on the bathroom floor in a pool of blood. She also found a baby, wrapped in a shawl under the bathroom sink. She told police she took the baby, placed him face down in four to six inches of water in the bathtub and left him there until he stopped moving. 

Then, along with Mann, and her husband, Jagsir Singh, she buried her dead grandson in the backyard of their home in Bakersfield. She insisted that said she killed the baby to protect her daughter and prevent family shame. She said she feared her community would speak poorly of her family and not talk to them.

Dhillon’s daughter, the 15-year-old juvenile took the stand during the trial and told the court that her child was taken somewhere to be adopted. She found out about her baby’s death in February 2020, when her brother told her the baby was buried in the backyard. The following day she reportedly went to a social worker at school, and told her what happened. he social worker contacted police and the baby’s body was discovered. 

She testified that she wore loose clothing and hid her clothing, and that the father of the child was Mann. She said they hid the pregnancy from her parents out of fear. She told the court that she gave birth alone in a bathtub before passing out. She said she doesn’t know what happened after. A few months later, in February 2019, Dhillon’s daughter told the police about the infant’s death. Police exhumed the body on Feb. 26, 2019, and arrested Dhillon and her husband, Jagsir Singh.

As per the police reports, Singh told police he wasn’t home during the birth and death of the baby. However, after learning what had happened, he told the police that he allowed the baby to be buried in the backyard. He said he did not seek medical attention for his daughter “because he was worried his wife would kick him out of the house and he might be deported,” the BakersfieldNow reported then, citing the police. Singh was arrested on allegations of aiding a felon, felony child abuse and conspiracy, and released on a $50,000 bail. He committed suicide on March 7, 2019

The case, which shook the entire country, jolted the community in Kern County, which is home to an estimated 20,000 Sikhs. The community is close knit and could be the reason why shame drove Dhillon to kill her grandson.

A Wakeup Call

The case, which shook the entire country, jolted the community in Kern County, which is home to an estimated 20,000 Sikhs. The community is close knit and could be the reason why shame drove Dhillon to kill her grandson. The incident also ignited a series of conversations about teen pregnancy within the Sikh community, the importance of an open dialogue between parents and their kids, and related issues. 

Nandini Ray, Manager of Outreach and Prevention Program at Maitri, a domestic violence service in California’s Bay Area, told American Kahani that that it is common to see “harmful and destructive behavior that leads to abusive relationships.” Topics like sex, teen pregnancy and rape are taboo topics in our community, she noted, and added that a lot of times kids don’t have the resources they can turn to, and nether are they are the parents equipped to handle such situations. However, she said one can’t pinpoint such incidents to a particular community. She said her organization is calling out to all communities to do their part in ending gender-based violence, abuse, bullying, gender inequality, and victim blaming.

Understanding the challenges and using the Dhillon case as a “wakeup call,” members of the Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association came together to discuss ways to protect the youth in their community. They brainstormed on creating a resource hotline for the Sikh and Punjabi community in the area. Mona Gill, co-founder of the Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association, told the Californian that the infant’s murder should be a “wake-up call” to the Sikh community, where teen pregnancy is taboo. “The family is a central pillar in the Punjabi community,” said, adding that this puts “a a lot of pressure on a young woman.”

See Also

The Association posted a message on it’s Facebook page on Feb, 29, 2019, offering resources to teens in the community who need help “BSWA is always here as a resource for anyone in our community, if you or anyone you know are in need of any help please contact us,” the post said. It also listed contact information for the California Youth Crisis Hotline and the Kern County Mental Health Crisis Line. “Our prayers are with all the children involved in this horrendous and senseless tragedy.”

A few months after Dhillon’s arrest, another incident shook Bakersfield. In August 2019, August, 65-year-old Jagjit Singh admitted to police that he shot and killed his daughter-in-law, Sumandeep Kaur Kooner, 37. Jagjit Singh told police he did it to preserve his honor after he overheard Kooner on the phone saying she was prepared to leave her husband and family to marry another man. 

It was after Krooner’s murder that the hotline went live, bakersfield.com reported. The hotline went live in September 2020, to connect callers to the association’s partners, like the Family Justice Center and Behavioral Health Recovery Services. Explaining how the hotline works, bakersfield.com said, a group of women volunteers take phone calls or return voicemails in both English and Punjabi. “Based on the information they receive from the call, a volunteer will refer that person to a specific resource, such as mental health, domestic violence or addiction services,” Raji Brar, co-founder of the Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association, told the portal. “Sometimes a simple phone call can prevent a tragedy,” Brar said  She hoped the service would be helpful to the youth. “We don’t even realize what folks are going through,” she said, and added: “It’s more welcoming or accepting when it’s someone from your community or someone from your culture who gets it.” 

The Bakersfield Police Department also reached out to the youth through their Facebook page. They posted information about the Safe Surrender Baby Law. “This law allows distressed birth parent(s) to legally, confidentially, and safely surrender their baby within 3 days of birth to any fire station or emergency room within Kern County,” the Facebook post read.

According to the Kern County Department of Human Services, “a distressed parent who is unable or unwilling to care for an infant can legally, confidentially and safely surrender their baby within 3 days of birth. All that is required is that the baby be brought to any fire station or emergency room. A bracelet will be placed on the baby for identification. A matching bracelet will be given to the parent. The bracelet will help connect the parent to the baby if the parent wants the baby back.”

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The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
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