A man accused of beating his girlfriend’s 2-year-old boy to death because he wouldn’t eat his dinner has turned himself in, police announced Friday.
Juan Garcia, 18, led Arizona police on a near three-month manhunt after fleeing his girlfriend’s Phoenix home where the boy, Jorge Zamora-Rogel, was pronounced dead after found thoroughly beaten.
Garcia is being held at the Pima County Detention Center after turning himself near Lukeville border in southern Arizona.
Captured: Juan Garcia, 18, has turned himself in after allegedly beating his girlfriend’s two-year-old Jorge Zamora-Rogel, right, to death
He will be charged with first-degree murder, child abuse, aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault once expedited to Phoenix, Phoenix police spokesman Sgt Trent Crump told AZ Central.
Garcia had moved in to the home of the child’s mother, Wendy Rogel-Pagasa, 18, only days before he killing her son, Jorge, in a fit of rage on February 24, police said.
According to court documents, Garcia became increasingly angry when the toddler would not eat the food he had brought home.
Garcia gripped the boy by the ear and pulled him out of his bedroom.
Failed: Wendy Rogel-Pagasa, 18, was arrested on suspicion of failing to protect her son
When the child started to cry, Garcia became more infuriated and grabbed him by the throat, repeatedly slamming his head against the wall and knocking him unconscious.
When Rogel-Pagasa begged Garcia to stop, he whipped her with an electrical cord and attempted to choke her.
After the attack, Garcia left the home for about one-and-a-half hours and Rogel-Pagasa watched as her bleeding, unconscious son convulsed on the floor.
She tried unsuccessfully to revive him, but did not call for help, according to police.
When Garcia returned, he tried to rouse the child by hitting him more, lifting him up by his ankle, bending his fingers back, and slapping him in the face.
It wasn’t until Jorge stopped breathing that Rogel-Pagasa called 911 – more than three hours after the initial beating, police said. By then, Garcia had fled. Phoenix fire paramedics pronounced the child dead at the scene.
Police said Rogel-Pagas initially told them her boy got hurt by falling over before admitting what had really happened. She was later arrested and held on one count of child abuse on suspicion of failing to protect her son.
Sgt. Trent Crump, who is dealing with the case, urged anyone with information about the whereabouts of Garcia to come forward.
‘He killed a child with his bare hands,’ Sgt. Crump told Azcentral.com. ‘We’re going to find him. And anybody who gets in the way of that is going to go to jail as well.’
Filed Under: Unbelievable
About the Author: