PD: Manuel Antonio Gonzalez facing murder charges in death of 21-month-old Xavier Becerra Martinez

PHOENIX - Phoenix police say the uncle of a toddler who supposedly drowned Friday is now facing murder charges.

Police spokesman Tommy Thompson said fire crews were responding to a drowning call at a home near 71st Avenue and Lower Buckeye when they found 21-month-old Xavier Becerra Martinez hurt, but his injuries did not appear consistent with a drowning. 

Fire crews called Phoenix police to the scene and then transported the toddler and his uncle, Manuel Antonio Gonzalez, who had been watching the boy, to the hospital where the toddler later died.

Thompson said homicide investigators discovered that Gonzalez was watching his two small children and Xavier, his nephew, when the child was hurt.

Gonzalez told police he took the child next door to call for help. Gonzalez said the child was playing with a hose and drowned in a puddle of water.

Police said the injuries on the child, and further injuries discovered at the hospital, did not match Gonzalez's story. Police believe the injuries were more consistent with child abuse.

Thompson said the case is still ongoing, but since Gonzalez was the only adult providing care for the toddler, and detectives believe probable cause exists, they booked Gonzalez into jail on charges of child abuse and 1st degree murder.

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