The mother of a 3-year-old Illinois boy who died this week, admitted to authorities that she and her boyfriend repeatedly struck the child and his siblings with a belt, the Daily Herald reports.
Authorities charged Joy Ramos, 22, with first-degree murder in connection with the death of the boy, Steven Figueroa.
Ramos brought Figueroa to a Chicago-area hospital on Wednesday morning, where he later died.
An autopsy found that Figueroa had two deep cuts or tears on his liver and multiple bruises on his head, abdomen and back. The cause of death was ruled blunt abdominal trauma from assault, according to prosecutor Maria McCarthy.
Ramos admitted to authorities that she hit Figueroa repeatedly with a belt, although she claimed to have stopped hitting him as much after her boyfriend moved in around July. Still, the boyfriend also struck Figueroa and Ramos’ 6-year-old son frequently with a belt, McCarthy said. Ramos also repeatedly struck her 22-month-old daughter.
The son told authorities he did not want to continue living with his mother, according to the newspaper. The boyfriend has not been charged and has not been publicly identified in open court.
Ramos told investigators that on Wednesday morning, she found Figueroa unresponsive and near her boyfriend. Ramos and the boyfriend then drove Figueroa to the hospital, but the boyfriend quickly left, McCarthy said. The child’s injuries appeared to have occurred the night before he was taken to the hospital, according to a pediatrician involved in the case.
Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil said Ramos was a danger to her own kids.
“Three children suffered allegedly from her hand or from her lack of being a mother if she did not intervene,” Kuriakos Ciesil said.
In addition to the murder charge, Ramos also faces two counts of aggravated battery to a child. She was ordered to remain in jail without bond and is scheduled to appear again in court on Tuesday at the Rolling Meadows courthouse.
[Feature Photo: Cook County Sheriff’s Office]