A man in Arizona is accused of killing his girlfriend’s 21-month-old son, allegedly throwing the toddler around the home, force-feeding him and ultimately beating him to death with a belt. Francisco Javier Felix Higuera was taken into custody on Friday and charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in the little boy’s slaying
The toddler’s mother, Maria Isabel Machado Perez, is accused of knowing about the long-term abuse at the hands of Higuera and doing nothing to help her son. She was also arrested and charged with child abuse.
According to court documents obtained by Mesa NBC affiliate KPNX, Higuera on Thursday, Feb. 8 was babysitting the victim while Perez went to work. Upon returning home, Perez reportedly found the child had suffered visible injuries and was not breathing.
Instead of taking the child to a hospital for treatment, Perez and Higuera at about 6:40 p.m. drove the boy to a CVS Pharmacy in the area of Bethany Home Road and 75th Avenue. Emergency medical personnel responded to the scene and transported the victim to Banner Thunderbird Hospital, but he was pronounced dead a short time after arriving at the facility.
Medical personnel who treated the child noted that his entire body was covered with bruises and had suffered lacerations to his head, face, and groin areas, Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO reported. The victim also reportedly had multiple broken bones in various stages of healing, which is a telltale sign of prolonged physical abuse.
“The injuries appeared to be consistent with being caused by abuse over a long period of time,” a probable cause affidavit obtained by KPNX said.
During an interview with police detectives, Higuera initially claimed that the couple had been in his pickup truck when someone hit them from behind and drove away, KPHO reported. However, Higuera reportedly went on to admit that he was lying.
As questioning continued, police reportedly showed Higuera photographs of the toddler’s various injuries. When asked about the abrasions on the victim’s face, Higuera allegedly admitted that he likely caused the bruises when he previously attempted to force-feed the toddler.
A subsequent autopsy determined that the little boy had suffered “significant injuries” in the hours before his death, Glendale radio station KTAR reported. The manner of death was determined to be a homicide and the cause of death was internal bleeding resulting from a lacerated liver and detached bowel.
In a follow-up interview conducted after the autopsy, Higuera reportedly said that a few hours before the victim’s death, he had brought the toddler and an infant shared by him and Perez to the park. Sometime before they arrived home from the park, the victim reportedly ripped off his diaper and made a mess. Once home, Higuera allegedly admitted that he threw the victim, saying the child was about 4 feet off the ground before landing. Higuera also allegedly admitted to beating the child with a belt.
A short while after the throwing, Higuera reportedly said that the victim began vomiting and became unresponsive.
Both suspects are currently being held in Maricopa County Jail. During their first court appearances, a judge ordered that neither suspect may have “any contact whatsoever with anyone under the age of 18,” Phoenix Fox affiliate KSAZ reported.
Higuera is currently being held on $1.5 million bond while Perez’s bond was set at $500,000.
Click this link for the original source of this article.
Author: Jerry Lambe
This content is courtesy of, and owned and copyrighted by, https://lawandcrime.com and its author. This content is made available by use of the public RSS feed offered by the host site and is used for educational purposes only. If you are the author or represent the host site and would like this content removed now and in the future, please contact USSANews.com using the email address in the Contact page found in the website menu.