Irving

Man Charged With Killing Boy, 2, He Said Wiped Feces on Him

Man faces capital murder charge in death of girlfriend's son

NBC 5 News

A man has been charged with capital murder after police say he admitted to killing his girlfriend's 2-year-old son after he wiped feces on him.

Irving police said Friday that 23-year-old Arturo Santiago Pena-Almanza Jr. was charged with capital murder in the death of Jeremiah Degrate Rios.

Police said officers and fire department personnel responded to an unconscious person call Tuesday morning and found the child dead inside an apartment.

The child's mother told police she checked on him several times in the morning and that he appeared to be sleeping. At about 9:30 a.m., she said he "was no longer conscious, had stiffness, and was cold to the touch."

After investigators determined the death wasn't an accident, Pena-Almanza was arrested Wednesday on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child, police said.

Arturo Santiago Pena-Almanza
NBC 5 News
Arturo Santiago Pena-Almanza Jr., inset.

During an interview with investigators Thursday, Pena-Almanza confessed to hitting the child several times with his fists because the child wiped feces on him from his diaper, police said.

Pena-Almanza's charge was then upgraded to capital murder.

An autopsy found multiple blunt force trauma injuries to the child's body, including his head, according to an arrest warrant.

According to an arrest warrant, surveillance video showed Pena-Almanza leaving the apartment in the night with an alert and awake Jeremiah. When Pena-Almanza returned about 50 minutes later, the child appeared unconscious.

In the affidavit, police said Pena-Almanza could be seen and heard giving "two rescue breaths to the victim, followed by the victim's head abruptly falling in an unnatural manner, appearing to be limp.

Pena-Almanza was being held Friday in Dallas County Jail. Bond is listed at $500,000. Jail records did not list an attorney for him.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the family to help cover the child's funeral expenses.

NBC 5 and the Associated Press.
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