SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS8) - A parolee allegedly beat his girlfriend severely near their Pauma Valley home early Tuesday before fleeing with their 5-month-old son and threatening to do harm to him, prompting an eight-hour manhunt that ended with the father's arrest and the safe recovery of the baby.
Deputies investigating a reported domestic dispute shortly after 1:30 a.m. found the battered woman, whose name was not released, in a neighborhood off the 22000 block of State Route 76, sheriff's officials said.
The victim told investigators her boyfriend, 42-year-old Kenneth Wayne Welch, had attacked her during an argument as they sat with their son inside a parked vehicle in the area, not far from their home on the La Jolla Indian Reservation, Lt. James Bolwerk said.
The badly hurt woman managed to escape and run off, after which Welch drove away with the child, also named Kenneth, Bolwerk said. Medics took the victim to a hospital for treatment of serious injuries to her head and face.
Authorities, meanwhile, issued a statewide child-abduction alert while trying to locate Welch, who was believed to be armed with a knife, a threat to the baby and possibly suicidal, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Several hours later, a relative of Welch's who lives in Oceanside called the police to report that the suspect had dropped off the infant and then left, the lieutenant said. The child, who was unharmed, was taken into protective custody.
Shortly before 10 a.m., deputies spotted Welch driving through western Vista. Following a brief road and foot chase, they arrested him in the 1100 block of Marine View Drive, just east of South Melrose Drive, Bolwerk said.
Welch was booked into the Vista Detention Facility on suspicion of attempted murder, assault, child endangerment, domestic violence, evading police and violating conditions of his parole. He was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
News 8 has learned that Welch is no stranger to the law. According to Department of Corrections records, in 1996 Welch was sentenced to 5 years for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon & eluding an officer.
After being released, he was then sentenced in 2001 to 13 years behind bars for felony domestic abuse, trying to prevent a victim from testifying, and vehicle theft.