A California man has been charged with murder in connection with the death of his young daughter six years ago, the Press-Enterprise reports.
Police on Thursday arrested 33-year-old Ernesto Landeros Jr. on suspicion of murder in the second degree and assault on a child under 8 years of age causing death.
Landeros’ daughter, Destiny Marquez, died on December 26, 2014, but no arrests had been made at the time. Days earlier, around 2 a.m. on December 21, 2014, Landeros brought the girl into a hospital, where her heart had stopped beating, according to court documents.
Landeros told a police investigator that the girl had been vomiting the night before. He said he woke up in the middle of the night and noticed that she was having trouble breathing, which he said prompted him to take her to the hospital.
Landeros first claimed he did not know why his daughter could not breathe, but later said she had fallen off a “little princess toy” and struck her chest on a steering wheel on Dec. 16. He said she got up from the fall and continued playing with her 4-year-old sister. She started throwing up the next day.
The girl was transferred to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and her large intestine was repaired. Her injuries appeared to have been caused by “blunt force trauma,” which “would have been excruciating and accompanied by extreme non-stop pain,” according to doctors.
In a court document, the doctor who performed a child abuse exam wrote: “Destiny was likely allowed to languish for days, which caused her heart failure.”
An investigator with the district attorney’s office obtained photos from Landeros’ former girlfriend that showed Destiny had been healthy 34 hours before she was brought to the hospital. The girl appeared happy and was smiling in the photos.
“Ultimately, the photographs provided by (redacted) revealed a clear timeline where Destiny was in the sole care and custody of Landeros from Friday evening until the early morning hours of Sunday, Dec. 22. Moreover, Destiny’s injuries suggest that Landeros allowed her to languish for potentially a day and a half, in extreme non-stop pain, before she stopped breathing,” a court filing obtained by the newspaper states.
Records show Landeros has previous convictions for battery on a spouse or co-habitant, inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or co-habitant and violating a court order to prevent domestic violence.
Landeros is being held in jail in lieu of $1 million bail. A court date has not yet been set.
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[Feature Photo via Pixabay]