Couple arrested in death of Menifee infant
MENIFEE — Following a months-long investigation, homicide investigators arrested a Menifee couple they allege caused the death of their 5-week-old, infant daughter late last January. The couple was arrested Monday morning, March 11, at their Menifee residence on the 28000 block of Avenida Marbella, southwest of Newport and Menifee roads.
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Based on their extensive investigation, homicide investigators arrested the couple, identified as 33-year-old, Gregory Miles Brandt and 27-year-old, Jasmine Rugga.
After their arrests, the pair was booked into Cois Byrd Detention Center; Brandt on suspicion of first-degree murder and assault on a child resulting in death, and Rugga on suspicion of child endangerment.
Online jail records indicate Brandt remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail and that Rugga was released within hours of her arrest after posting $35,000 bail.
Menifee PD’s investigation into the young victim’s death began Saturday, Jan. 26, when deputies were alerted to the infant’s passing after Brandt and Rugga took their daughter to an area hospital with unspecified injuries, Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Wallace Clear said after the arrests.
“The infant was declared deceased after medical staff were unable to resuscitate her,” Clear explained.
“Evidence surfaced in the following days that lead Menifee investigators to believe foul play was involved in the infant’s death,” Clear continued.
Based on the circumstances, Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit investigators were called in to assist Menifee PD in their suspicious death investigation.
As their investigation continued, officials developed leads and gathered information that ultimately led then to suspect the infant victim’s parents in her death and the pair was subsequently arrested.
Officials have not said what may have led to the infant’s murder and have not released any further information about their investigation, which is ongoing.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to immediately contact Investigator Salisbury at the Menifee Police Department at (951) 210-1000, or Investigator Trudeau at the Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777. Callers can refer to incident file number ME190260033 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Homicide Tipline online form.
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Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.