Petco Park deaths: Witness says mom lost balance after jumping up on bench with child

A witness to the tragic fall that left a mom and toddler dead at San Diego’s Petco Park over the weekend, says the mother appeared to lose her balance after jumping up on a bench near an upper-level railing, according to a report. 

The woman, 40, and her child, 2, fell from the third level of the ballpark Saturday prior to the game between the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves. They were pronounced dead shortly after 4 p.m. local time, police said. 

Their identities were not immediately released and San Diego police said an investigation was ongoing into their deaths, noting it “appeared to be suspicious.”


Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, is seen during a game against the Houston Astros on June 19, 2012 in San Diego, California. 

Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, is seen during a game against the Houston Astros on June 19, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)

On Monday, the witness – identified as the mother of UT Community Press reporter Karen Billing – said both victims and a man were seated at the table next to her on the third concourse of the stadium, according to FOX 5 of San Diego

At one point, she said the man was standing next to the woman who “started jumping on the bench of the table closest to the railing, holding the baby in her arms.”

“She seemed happy—laughing,” the witness said. “She lost her balance and fell off the bench. I remarked to my son, ‘Oh my gosh she almost fell.’”

About 30 seconds or a minute later, the eyewitness said the woman was facing the man as she jumped back on the bench with the child.

“I remember saying ‘I can’t believe she’s doing that again,’” she said, “and then she was gone.”

The witness noted the mother lost her balance again and “it was almost like she rolled over the railing.” She said there were no screams, only an eerie silence – followed by the sound of the pair hitting the ground below.

“My son said that we should get out of there so we left the area and went to our seats,” the witness added. “When my daughter saw the police had gathered in the area, I went back to give them my statement.”

Police had been hoping for any witnesses to the incident to come forward. The Padres said they were not commenting further other than offering their thoughts and prayers, citing an ongoing investigation. 

Authorities said they were also speaking to the father of the child. He was not married to the mother who died, reports said. 


“Our hearts obviously go out to the family, but also to the people who here could potentially be traumatized who saw this,” Lt. Andra Brown said Saturday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It’s a horrible, horrible thing. That’s why we’re giving it a very serious look.”

On Monday, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said there were a lot of unusual circumstances surrounding the incident, which he called “horrifically tragic.”

“There were several witnesses — unfortunately no cameras — but several witnesses who were there who were clearly traumatized,” Gloria told FOX 5. “This is on top, obviously, of the trauma of the loss of the mother and her child. These are very tragic things. This is not why people go to Petco Park. They go to have a day of enjoyment, to enjoy seeing our incredible Padres.”


“That wasn’t what people experienced on Saturday,” Gloria added. “It’s very tragic.”

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *