5-year-old fatally stabbed by twin brother at Santa Cruz County home, authorities say

Lauren Martinez Image
Friday, November 17, 2023
5-year-old fatally stabbed by twin at Santa Cruz Co. home: sheriff
A five-year-old boy was fatally stabbed his twin brother at his Santa Cruz County home, the sheriff's office said on Thursday.

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office says they are heartbroken for the family of two young boys.

On Wednesday just before 4 p.m., deputies responded to a home in unincorporated Scotts Valley.

Officials learned that a 5-year-old boy stabbed his twin brother.

Ashley Keehn is the public information officer for the Santa Cruz County Sherriff's Office.

"The 5-year-old was in an altercation with his 5-year-old twin brother. Unfortunately, the brother did obtain a knife, a small kitchen knife, and stabbed the other 5-year-old, who ended up passing away," Keehn said.

Authorities said the 5-year-old victim died at the hospital.

"Through investigation, witness interviews, there was no negligence. This ended up being just being a very tragic, horrific situation," Keehn said.

No charges will be filed against anyone involved.

Former prosecutor Steven Clark said no DA wants to be perceived as piling on a family tragedy like this unless they feel a crime is committed.

Clark said the DA will investigate if the children were properly supervised or if they were in inherent danger.

"The fact that the sheriff's office came out so quickly and deemed this not a negligent situation suggests that this family was acting appropriately, that this was just a one-off, horrible, tragic event," Clark said.

Authorities say they will not be releasing any identifying information.

Thomas Plante, a psychology professor at Santa Clara University, says it's a tragedy that's hard to blame anybody.

"They are 5 but they probably, likely just developmentally don't have the notion of what is the true implications of their actions, and so this is one of those things where I think they're probably going to struggle with for the rest of their lives, and you hope they get adequate psychological help," Plante said.

Plante suggests those in the community, neighbors or parents of classmates be careful not to be overly critical.

"I think emphasizing kindness, graciousness, nonjudgmental, is probably the way to go and not do more damage than what's already been done," Plante said.

The sheriff's office said this kind of tragedy is something that stays with officers or other first responders their entire careers.

They have already started the process of setting up their peer support team.

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