Month-Old Baby’s Slaying Tops 10 Days Of Carnage - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Month-Old Baby’s Slaying Tops 10 Days Of Carnage

November 6th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Month-Old Baby’s Slaying Tops 10 Days Of Carnage

By Jim Walsh


Only tragedy and heartache connect four separate incidents in two weeks that left an innocent baby, a motorcyclist, a suicidal man armed with a gun, and a would-be “John” all dead in Chandler.

Four deaths, four people’s lives cut short in an unusual run of violent and tragic crimes in typically quiet Chandler.

“It’s a string of events we don’t often see here,’’ said Detective Seth Tyler, a police spokesman. “I don’t think there’s a rhyme or reason why.’’

He said the severity of the cases speaks to the unpredictable nature of police work and the need to be vigilant at all times.

“We’ve had at least homicides this year. I hope there aren’t any more.’’

None was more senseless than the death of Rainer Canku, only four weeks old, described by his father as “perfect baby.’

Police arrested Rainer’s mother, Jenna Folwell, 19, and accused her of first-degree murder for allegedly drowning the baby in a bathtub.

While Rainer’s death made national headlines, there were other tragedies in Chandler that included:

• A collision between a car and a motorcycle that left Ryan James Latsch, 22, of Gilbert, dead at Arizona Avenue and Elliot Road, on Oct. 22.

• An incident on Oct. 21, when two men argued with victim German Ramon Medina, over how much he was expected to pay for an act of prostitution with two women. Joseph Caballero, 18, pointed a gun toward Medina, 29, according to a court document. Police accused his brother, Matthew Vacaneri, 30, of grabbing the gun and shooting Medina, who died from his injuries. Caballero and Vacaneri were arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder.

• On Oct. 12, two Chandler officers exchanged gunfire with a suicidal man armed with a gun. The suicidal man was shot to death, while the officers were not injured. The fatal shooting is the subject on an internal affairs investigation.

The baby was discovered by police in the suspect’s apartment after they cut through a clumsy cover-up plot and discovered the baby dead in a duffel bag hidden in a cabinet.

It all started with a far-fetched story about a supposed child abduction, when Folwell called police and reported that an unidentified male attacker had approached her from behind as she attempted to load Rainer into her car at Brooks Crossing Park. She said the man put a plastic bag over her head, threatened to kill her and snatched Rainer.

Detective Seth Tyler, a police spokesman, said police started looking for Rainer, all the while knowing that they may be investigating a different crime.

Among the tell-tale signs that the abduction might be fabricated was that Folwell spoke in a flat, unemotional manner – far different than the hysterical response that would be expected under such extreme circumstances.

Tyler said police relied on their training, starting two investigations at once, going door-to-door on the search for Rainer, but also considering that it might be a homicide. Officers went to the apartment she shared with her parents and found the door open.

“You think about the worse-case scenario,’’ and how to react, in all phases of police work, he said. And that’s exactly what officers eventually uncovered.

While searching the apartment, officers found Rainer dead, still wet and wrapped with two blankets inside the duffel bag.

At first, Folwell told them she passed out while in a bathtub with Rainer, only to find him floating face down when she awakened, according to court records. Folwell admitted that she had placed Rainer in the duffle bag and driven to the park to report the “abduction.’’

When police found Rainer, they obtained a search warrant for Folwell’s cell phone. It included 100 different searches on such topics as how long does it take for a baby to drown and the five different types of parents who kill their children.

Folwell admitted, when police confronted her about the searches, “getting in the bathtub with her son and letting him go. Jenna said she settled on this way because she did not want to hear her baby cry,’’ the document said.

A short later, Folwell told a detective that “she regretted her decision and got him out of the bathtub and attempted CPR,’’ cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but it was unsuccessful, according to the document said.

Tyler said it is unclear if Folwell knew CPR, or if it was yet another story she told detectives.

“This is an absolutely senseless loss of life. There were so many other decisions Jenna could have made,’’ Tyler said, including walking about a half-mile to Chandler Regional Hospital and asking for help in caring for the baby.

While the state’s Safe Haven Law is aimed at having parents turn in newborns at fire stations and hospitals within 72 hours of birth, police aren’t interested in making arrests under such circumstances and simply want to help the child and the parents, he said.

Tyler said it was unclear why Folwell chose to end her son’s life.

“These are very rare events and they are very traumatic events for everyone involved,’’ Tyler said.

Eric Canku, the child’s father, said he wished Folwell had given Rainer to him or sought help from countless agencies that would have been happy to help her. He said he no longer had a romantic relationship with Folwell, but the two remained friends. He said he was caring for the child two days a week.

Canku said Folwell never expressed hatred toward Rainer and was always smiling while she held him in her arms.

“She had a good personality. She was nice. She was a good person. I never expected her to hurt a fly,’’ he said.

Canku said he fell in love with Rainer the first time he saw him and that Folwell had taken the best thing in his life away from him.

“I wanted to take him on his first camping trip. I wanted to teach him how to fish. I wanted to make him to a baseball game,’’ Canku said. “It’s just holding him and looking into his eyes. He could tell I was his Dad.’’

Canku said he was too young when Rainer was born and not ready to be a father, but he loved the boy and wanted to do everything possible for him.

“This was a cold thing she did,’’ he said.