A Florida man is facing first-degree murder charges after allegedly beating his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter to death and misleading police about the cause of her death.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Dennys Llopiz, 27, called 911 from a North Beach apartment Friday and indicated that a child in his care wasn’t breathing. The toddler, identified as Skylar Hartley, was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead.
Llopiz is said to have provided multiple explanations about what happened to his girlfriend’s child. Llopiz initially said Hartley had taken a shower alone because she defecated on herself and that he discovered her “slouched against the wall of the shower, not breathing,” according to the Sentinel.
The Miami Herald reports that Llopiz also claimed Hartley fell on some rocks while they fished the night before. However, the toddler’s mother, Maria Lopez, 24, reportedly said the pair had never gone fishing together.
An autopsy revealed that Hartley suffered a “large laceration” on her liver and bruising to her large intestine, bowels, diaphragm, and right lung. The air sacs in her lungs were ruptured and she had three fractured ribs, the report stated. The medical examiner ultimately determined the 3-year-old died from blunt force trauma.
While Llopiz hasn’t admitted to the murder, the arrest report indicates that investigators believe he may have killed the 3-year-old because she used nail polish to paint on a photo of him. He allegedly sent the girl’s mother several texts about the incident on the night in question.
The slain girl’s father, Jeffrey Hartley, said he told Lopez that her boyfriend was abusing their daughter.
“I warned her and warned her about that guy,” he told WFOR. “I told her about the time my daughter tells me that he put his hands on her.”
According to the Herald, the Florida Department of Children and Families said Tuesday that the only had contact with the family once in 2017 when someone accused the mother of doing heroin around her daughter. The agency determined the claim was unfounded.
Llopiz was arrested Monday and was ordered to be held without bail.
[Featured image: Skylar Hartley/GoFundMe; Dennys Llopiz/Miami-Dade Corrections]