Man accused in California City toddler's death in court

The family of two-year-old Pharaoh Vanvactor left court without answers Monday.
CALIFORNIA CITY, CA - The man accused of killing a toddler in California City made his first court appearance Monday, but his arraignment was postponed.

Matthew Berry was arrested for the death of his girlfriend's two-year-old son, Pharaoh Vanvactor.

Vanvactor's family said Berry offered to take the child with him to run errands last Wednesday, but the next day a bus driver found Berry and the boy in the middle of the desert.

"From what I understand, he was supposed to just take Pharaoh out to go get some ice cream and to go get some shoes and to the hardware store," said Pharaoh's aunt Shaquia Brown.

"Now all of this is out here. We have our own hardware store. Rite Aid is right up the street, and the shoes part, I don't know where he was going to get that at, but this is what he told my sister."

Berry and the boy's mother, Adriana Brown, are from Los Angeles and were staying with Brown's sister Shaquia while they house hunted in California City. Brown said Berry and Pharaoh disappeared on that shopping trip.

"That whole day, she's calling, texting, and he's not answering," said Brown.

"She [Adriana Brown] goes out searching for them. When she gets back, I say, 'Adrie, you need to call the police."

The following day, a bus driver told police he was coming into California City from Ridgecrest and saw Berry and Pharaoh laying by the roadside in the desert, eight miles from California City.

"I think he was deceased before he got onto the bus," said a passenger on the bus. "His forehead was bruised real bad."

An autopsy revealed Pharaoh died of blunt force trauma. Berry was arrested and charged with first degree murder and assault on a child.

Brown said Berry claimed to be a MMA fighter, but was never angry or violent toward Pharaoh. She also doesn't understand why he took Pharaoh with him last week.

"My boyfriend had seen him at the Dollar General. And he was leaving the Dollar General, so you have to pass by my house to get out of California City. Why didn't you just drop Pharaoh back off?"

Berry's arraignment is scheduled for December 2nd.
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