Merced man pleads guilty in toddler's death

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Jonathan Thao pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse causing great bodily injury. (KFSN)

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A Merced man accused of running over a toddler has now pleaded guilty. Jonathan Thao initially claimed three-year-old Santos Seth Alvarez was killed by a hit-and-run driver in a McDonald's parking lot last November. But Merced police said their investigation revealed Thao was to blame for the death. They even found the toddler's blood on the tires of his truck.

On Monday, Thao pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse causing great bodily injury. Family members said they're glad he's taking responsibility but wish he was facing more serious charges.

Prosecutors said they had to go with what they can prove, and there's not enough evidence to show any motive or intent. They also said Thao pleaded guilty in a way that does not admit wrongdoing. He was not offered any deal in return though, and faces a maximum of nine years in prison during his sentencing next month.



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crimetrackerhit and runchild deathmcdonald'sMercedAtwater
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