Father charged with murder of missing Southern California baby

profile photo
By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The father of a missing baby in Palmdale was charged with murder and child abuse in the boy’s suspected death.

The suspect, Yusef Dewees, 24, is accused of murdering his three-week-old son, Baki Dewees, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Baki was born on April 14 and went missing on May 3 when he was last seen with Yusef, according to the boy’s grandmother.

Yusef allegedly murdered the infant sometime between May 2 and May 3, authorities said.

Two days after giving birth, the boy’s mother, Rosealani Gaoa, 25, was arrested in Ogden, Utah, on suspicion of aggravated child abuse, intentional child abuse and reckless child abuse.

The couple had four children at the time. During Gaoa’s arrest, one child, who was the subject of abuse allegations against the mother, was taken into custody by welfare officials, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Yusef Dewees, 24, is pictured with his three-week-old son, Baki Dewees. LASD investigators searched through an Antelope Valley landfill for the remains of a missing infant on May 14, 2024. (KTLA)Baki Dewees, three weeks old, was last seen on May 3, 2024. (viewer photo)Yusef Dewees, 24, the baby’s father, is being held in Utah on unrelated charges. (viewer photo)

After Gaoa’s arrest, Yusef reportedly took their three remaining children from Utah to Palmdale.

A few days later, Yusef headed back to Utah where authorities arrested him on May 7 after he allegedly lied about Baki’s disappearance to police, the L.A. Times reported.

On May 14, investigators began searching through an Antelope Valley landfill in hopes of finding the baby boy’s remains.

The reasons that led investigators to the landfill were not released, however, authorities confirmed the incident transitioned from a missing child case to a homicide case.

Following the search, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said no evidence was found in the landfill. Detectives continued searching for the missing child’s remains in multiple locations.

The infant’s body has not been found so far.

On June 5, the DA’s office announced Yusef was charged with one count of murder, one count of assault on a child causing death, and one count of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death.

Yusef remains in custody in Utah and L.A. officials filed an extradition arrest warrant on Wednesday.

The couple’s two children that were left in California were removed by welfare officials.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the family of this innocent child and extend our support in the face of such senseless violence,” said L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón. “Child abuse has no place in our society and such acts of violence are beyond the pale. Children are some of the most vulnerable in our society, and every child is entitled to safety and protection as a human right. We are committed to vigorously seeking justice for the victim and their loved ones.”

If convicted on the charges, Yusef could face up to life in state prison.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call LASD’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

Anonymous tips can be provided to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at lacrimestoppers.org.

author photo
About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.