Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dad charged with felony murder in death of 3-month-old son; "lewd acts" upon baby's 14-year-old moher (Santa Ana, California)

Dad is identified as JORDAN PETER MENDEZ.

20-year-old dad facing murder charges in 3-month-old son's death

July 21, 2015 |Updated July 22, 2015 6:57 a.m.

Three-month-old Tristin Mendez died Monday afternoon after being on life support after he was found unresponsive on Friday. His father, 20-year-old Jordan Mendez, was arrested on charges of assault on a child resulting in great bodily injury or death.


A 20-year-old father who was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his three-month-old son who later died has been charged with murder.

Jordan Peter Mendez of Santa Ana was charged with one felony count of murder and another of committing lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14, a charge tied to the age of the girl who is the boy’s mother.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 33 years to life in prison, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The charges stem from the death of Mendez’s son, Tristin, who was in his care for a few hours last Friday and found unresponsive with blunt force head trauma, according to prosecutors.

Tristin’s mother was Mendez’s 14-year-old girlfriend. The girl has been identified by family members, but the Register is withholding her name because she is a minor.

The baby’s aunt, Kristy Kelly, 29, who is sister to the 14-year old mother, said in an interview Tuesday that she was present the day of the incident.

Kelly said Mendez was watching the boy while the mother went to run an errand with her brother, who lives in a Santa Ana apartment.

Mendez, who was at the apartment, said he was going to walk to the nearby CVS pharmacy with the baby in a stroller.

Though the store is within an 8-minute walk of the apartment, Mendez didn’t return right away. After he didn’t return, Kelly and the baby’s mother, who were back in the apartment, went looking for Mendez, but didn’t find him.

“He was gone for 3 1/2 or four hours,” Kelly said. “When he came back (that night) he proceeded to lay the baby down (on the floor), change the diaper and not let (the mother) touch him.”

Mendez made Tristin a bottle so he could then put the baby in his crib.

The mother demanded he hand over the baby, and Mendez reportedly refused. Kelly said she did not have “a good feeling by the look on (Mendez’s) face.”

When the mother finally approached the normally active baby and touched him, she noticed he wasn’t breathing and was bruised on one side of his head.

Kelly saw that the boy, and the stroller he had been in, were “soaking wet.”

Kelly called 911. When authorities arrived, they performed CPR and took the baby to the hospital where he was placed on life support. He died Monday afternoon.

The homicide investigation is ongoing. An autopsy on the baby was completed Tuesday afternoon, but results were not immediately available.

Kelly said her sister and Mendez had a tumultuous relationship. Kelly said she believed the relationship was troubled by his heroin addiction and their age difference.

The district attorney’s office stated Tuesday afternoon that between June and August 2014 Mendez had a sexual relationship with the boy's mother while she was under the age of 14.

Mendez is being held in lieu of $1 million bail and his court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 14.