Loved ones are mourning a 2-year-old girl who police say was burned, punched and suffocated by her mother's boyfriend.
Maison Andres Torres was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
On Wednesday around 4:20 p.m., police responded to the 1500 block of Chestnut Avenue in Trenton, New Jersey, for a report of an unresponsive 28-month-old girl who fell down the stairs. The girl, identified as Lia Victoria Merino-Rodriguez, was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
Oscar Martínez had just gotten home from work when he said he noticed the commotion in the house in front of his. He ran inside and found the body of the girl, who was "alone in the room."
"I saw some six bruises here on her forehead. On the side of her face it looked like he had hit her like this," Martínez said, mimicking a punch.
Martinez said he tried checking for the girl's pulse but felt nothing. The girl "was cold", he said.
Police later determined Torres, who was dating the victim's mother, killed the tot. Torres allegedly burned the girl with scalding water, punched her and then suffocated her with his hands.
Torres is being held in the Mercer County Correctional Center pending a detention hearing scheduled for Aug. 27.