A 2-year-old boy from Austin, Texas, died while his 22-year-old sister and her boyfriend were babysitting him, authorities announced at a press conference Thursday.
Police say Noel Leal suffered from a fractured skull, bruises on his face, deep hemorrhaging in his armpits, and intestinal tears. He died from blunt force trauma, according to authorities.
Selissa Desiree Flores, 22, and her boyfriend, Miguel Oswaldo Berumen-Zepeda, 25, were arrested on charges of tampering with evidence. Berumen-Zepeda is also facing a charge of injury to a child.
According to an affidavit obtained by the Austin American-Statesman, authorities responded to a 911 call Saturday at approximately 3 p.m. regarding a child, identified by police as Noel Leal, who was cold and not breathing at a residence, located in the 6400 block of Springdale Road in East Austin. Flores and her boyfriend allegedly waited up to 18 hours before placing the emergency call, the affidavit states, adding that Flores admitted they had cleaned up the scene prior to calling for help.
The boy’s mother, Yvette Leal, told police she had dropped Noel off at Flores’ home Friday to babysit, adding that he didn’t appear to be sick or have any recent injuries…though an autopsy revealed the boy had fractured ribs that were in the healing phase at the time of his death.
Upon arrival to the home, police said they found the boy dead with wet hair, vomit on his clothing, fresh injuries to his face, and an injury to his lower leg that appeared to be healing.
The toddler’s sister initially alleged to police that she gave him chicken soup and Tylenol after she said he wasn’t feeling well upon waking up. She proceeded to tell authorities that the boy was having trouble eating a French fry before his eyes rolled back and he fell onto the couch, according to KXAN.
However, when interviewed again, police say Flores claimed that she woke up at 6 a.m.to find her brother dead. She then admitted to detectives that Berumen-Zepeda, who a juvenile witness said had a deep hatred for the child, told her not to say anything, according to authorities.
Authorities believe the boy died between 9 p.m. on Friday and 3:10 p.m. Saturday, and an autopsy conducted by the Travis County medical examiner cited the death as the result of homicide from “extensive physical trauma,”
Flores is being held at the Travis County Jail with a bond of $75,000, while Berumen-Zepeda is also in jail with a bail set at $100,000.
Anyone with information related to the case is asked to call homicide detectives at 512-477-3588. You may also contact Crime Stoppers at 512-472-8477, or text “Tip 103” with your message to CRIMES.
[Feature Photo: Noel Leal/Police Handout]