Phoenix man arrested in death of baby daughter

Gilbert Salazar Betancourt

Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Gilbert Salazar Betancourt

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by Jennifer Thomas

azfamily.com

Posted on October 12, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 12 at 6:27 PM

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police arrested a man in the death of his 9-week-old daughter.

Police said Gilbert Salazar Betancourt, 26, drove the baby to Tempe St. Luke's at about 9:30 p.m. on May 16. The infant then was flown to Cardon Children's Medical Center in Mesa where doctors said she had a growing hematoma to the head, rib and skull fractures, and evidence of shaken baby syndrome.

The baby's parents could not explain the injuries.

According to the police report, the child's mother, Jessica Garcia, had gone to work at 3 p.m. and the grandmother watched the infant until the father arrived at 6 p.m. Betancourt took the baby into a bedroom and fed her through a feeding tube due to a medical issue at birth.

He told police he then watched television while the baby slept. When he later picked up Alexus to feed her again, she was limp and unresponsive. He placed her on the floor and provided infant CPR. He said he heard a heartbeat but she was not breathing.

Betancourt then drove her to the hospital. He told police he did not call 911 because he believed he could drive to the hospital faster than paramedics responding to his home and transporting her.

The child's mother and grandmother said there were no injuries or trauma to Alexus and she had been behaving as usual on the day of the incident.

Betancourt denied injuring the child at any time and said the injuries must have occurred as a result of CPR.

According to the police report, Betancourt later admitted that he panicked and shook the baby hard. He said that "her head thumped on the floor when he put her down to provide CPR." He said he placed most of his weight on the baby's head while administering CPR.

The baby was removed from life support on July 16 and died as a result.

An autopsy has revealed the cause of death to be blunt force trauma and the manner of death was homicide.

Betancourt was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree murder and child abuse.

His bond was set at $100,000.
 

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