Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dad accused in toddler's death now faces murder charge (South Bend, Indiana)

Dad VALENTIN ESCOBEDO JR. has now been charged with murder in the death of his 2-year-old daughter. The little girl died from a back-to-front skull fracture. Mom has been charged with one count of neglect, though she was the one who noticed the head swelling and took her to the hospital.


Father accused in toddler's death now faces murder charge
Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — A father accused in the death of his 2-year-old daughter has been charged with murder.

Valentin Escobedo Jr. previously faced one count of battery resulting in the death of a child less than 14 years of age, a Class A felony punishable by up to 50 years in prison.

During his court appearance today, a new charge of murder was announced against the 25-year-old father.

New charges are sometimes added later to cases after more evidence has been reviewed, Ken Cotter, St. Joseph County chief deputy prosecutor, said after the hearing.

Because of the new charge, Escobedo's defense attorney asked the judge to postpone his client's trial date to allow more time to gather expert witnesses. The delay was granted and a new trial date for Escobedo was set for June 21.

The case against Escobedo stems from injuries his daughter, Maya Jane, suffered in December 2008. The toddler was taken to a local hospital after her mother noticed swelling on the side of her head, according to past reports.

Doctors later found the child had suffered a back-to-front fracture of her skull, three rib fractures and numerous other injuries. She was later pronounced brain dead and eventually taken off life-support.

The child's mother Kristina Byers-Escobedo, 31, also has been charged in the girl's death with one count of neglect of a dependent, a Class B felony.