Boy fatally hit by mother's boyfriend in truck, Merced police say

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Investigators revealed new details in the case of a Merced 3-year-old boy who died last fall. Merced police now say it was no random hit-and-run case. They say the child was hit and killed by his mother's boyfriend.

Jonathan Thao spoke to Action News last November after a car struck and killed his girlfriend's son. He says it happened at a McDonalds.

But Police say Thao's story isn't true. They say he was driving the vehicle that hit 3-year-old Santos Alvarez. Police say they found blood on Thao's truck, on the driver rear tire and inside the middle tread of the tire. During the autopsy, the imprint on the child's head also lined up with the tire tracks of Thao's truck.

"The only thing we know for certain is that the tire we had taken as evidence did roll over that child because the blood was inside the tire tread, it wasn't like just on the side of it or the outside, it was in the middle inside of the tire," said Capt. Tom Trindad of the Merced Police Department.

Thao, who is currently locked up on unrelated charges which include petty theft and possessing a controlled substance, could now face child endangerment charges if the district attorney decides to move forward.

Now, after months of confusion for the boy's family, and especially for his mother, Trindad says she may now be able to begin moving forward.

"We want her to have closure, and we wish he would be honest with the family so that they can get that closure," said Trindad.

Thao, who says he took the boy to the hospital, maintains his innocence.

"We feel it was an accident, we don't feel it was intentional, but we'll never know what the full story is until Mr. Thao decides to tell us," said Trindad.

Thao also said that the hit-and-run happened in a McDonald's parking lot, but police don't believe that's true either, as there was no physical evidence of an accident, nor did they receive any 911 calls.

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