The 51-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of intentionally drowning her 4-year-old grandson in the bathtub has confessed to the crime, according to police in Fairfield, California, although some of her extended relatives can't believe such a thing from a woman they describe as loving and caring.
Dawn Diana Raines-Hewes of Fairfield was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of murder. She was booked into the Solano County jail and is being held without bail, police said.
Officials said Raines-Hewes' 4-year-old grandson drowned in a bathtub at a home in the 1400 block of Jefferson Street. Police were dispatched around 10:50 a.m. Tuesday and found the boy unconscious and not breathing. He could not be revived. Late on Wednesday, police identified the boy as Richard Kite.
Authorities believe Raines-Hewes drowned the boy intentionally. Fairfield police officer Cleo Mayoral cited "evidence at the scene, including statements that were provided — statements from the grandmother herself."
Sgt. Becky Belk added later: "It was during the questioning of the grandmother. She admitted to the intentional act of drowning the child. The motivation at this time is unknown."
But police have not revealed what specific statements the grandmother might have made.
It was not immediately clear if Raines-Hewes had an attorney, as by Wednesday morning, she had not yet been arraigned. She is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday afternoon.
But her former sister-in-law, Lori Hewes of Fremont, told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday that the news about a woman she once called her "best friend" is barely believable.
"I'm just shocked," Hewes said. "That's just not her. She loves kids. I don't know what happened. I'm just an emotional wreck."
Crystal Hewes, 25, of Modesto said by phone Wednesday that Raines-Hewes, her former step-mother, was a "great mother to her own children. She's a loving caring person. She treated me as her own child."
Lori Hewes said her brother used to be married to Raines-Hewes, and that the grandchildren involved stem from her first marriage. Raines-Hewes has two grown daughters, according to relatives.
Two other grandchildren, a 1-year-old girl and a 6-year-old girl, were also under the care of Raines-Hewes but were unharmed, according to police.
Police late Tuesday were not releasing any information regarding a motive.
But the death unnerved people who live close by and made some neighbors wonder what Raines-Hewes had been doing inside the house that day.
"I think it's very sad. I have kids and I can't imagine someone doing that to a grandson," said neighbor Uriel Perez. "It's just horrible."
And Gloria Vargas said Raines-Hewes had acted a bit odd about 20 minutes before police say they were called to the house.
Raines-Hewes came out of the home looking pretty stressed about 10:30 a.m. asking Vargas' daughter if she could use her phone to call her boyfriend. Vargas' daughter declined because she was waiting for a call. Then, Vargas said Raines-Hewes went to another neighbor asking if she could use that person's phone, though she didn't say why.
Raines-Hewes also asked for a ride somewhere, Vargas said, but suddenly disappeared back into the home.
NBC Bay Area's Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report.