A Tempe man is facing three counts of child abuse after his girlfriend’s 14-month-old baby died earlier this week.
On Sept. 7, the 29-year-old man was watching Mary Valenzuela’s son Juanito in his apartment while Mary was at work, according to Tempe Police.
According to court documents, around 8 a.m., the suspect texted Mary and said that Juanito fell and hit his face. A few hours later, he called to tell her that while he was in the bathroom, her son hit his head on a toolbox. The suspect also indicated Juanito was doing better since the incident and was currently asleep.
However, at approximately 4 p.m., the suspect called Mary again and told her to come to the house immediately because Juanito was not waking up. When Mary asked the suspect to call the police, he called his aunt for help instead.
Once Mary arrived and learned that the suspect did not call for emergency help, she called 911. The baby was transported to Cardon’s Children’s Medical Center by paramedics where he later died.
During treatment and examination of Juanito, the medical staff believed the baby’s injuries were not a result of an accident. He had obvious trauma to his face and to the left side of his head, a fractured arm and apparent bite marks on his fingers and right ear.
Multiple family members told police Juanito did not have any of these injuries before Mary left him in the suspect's care.
Court documents indicate the suspect was the only adult in the residence caring for Juanito. Investigators also revealed the suspect's two young children were in the residence, along with a toolbox covered with a small amount of blood, meth and marijuana.
The actual cause of death is currently unknown. This is an active investigation that Tempe Police is working on with the help of Office of Child Welfare Investigations (OCWI) and the Medical Examiner’s Office.