Gila County couple arrested in connection with death of boy, 3Posted: Updated:
Gila County sheriff's deputies have arrested the mother of a 3-year-old boy and her boyfriend in connection with the boy's death March 26.
Kyron Grow, 37, was arrested and booked into the Gila County Jail on Monday on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Nathaniel Lopez.
Grow's girlfriend and the boy's mother, Marcelina Rich, 29, was arrested and booked into the jail on March 30 on child neglect charges.
Officials at the Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center called deputies after the child was brought in with life-threatening injuries.
The boy was flown to Phoenix Children's Hospital, where he died that afternoon, according to the Gila County Sheriff's Office.
Information released by CPS shows on the day he died, "Nathaniel had visible bruising and trauma all over his body. He had visible swelling to his face and head. There were bruises [different shapes and in different stages of healing] on his face, right chest, left hip, both thighs, both legs and his penis. There was bruising on his forehead and around both eyes."
Furthermore, the CPS report stated a "CT scan showed a new and old bleed in his scalp area. His chest X-ray revealed an old clavicle fracture."
CPS officials had contact with Nathaniel twice. The first time was in July 2012. The last was only five days before the little boy died.
On March 21, Nathaniel turned 3 years old. Neighbors at the Little Acres mobile home park, where he lived in Globe, say the boy was taken to Cobra Hospital for swelling on his forehead. He was sent home, but later that day, his family reportedly took him to Phoenix Children's Hospital when the swelling didn't go down.
"What they did to that little boy was very bad," said Bob Stengel, who manages the mobile home park. He said the family had only moved in less than two months earlier.
"When I seen them, they looked like a happy family," Stengel told CBS 5 News.
The CPS report states a doctor found the boy's injuries consistent with the explanation given by his family. They said he fell twice in the week prior, both times hitting his head. It was noted in the report that Nathaniel arrived at the emergency room with "his entire middle forehead swollen out. Both eyes were horribly swollen, and he had a 'healing black eye.'" It was also noted that Nathaniel was "observed to have bruises on his shins, his right lower leg and abrasions to his mid-back." He was given ibuprofen and released.
Neighbors say CPS showed up at the family's mobile home late that night with a deputy from the Gila County Sheriff's Office. It was determined the boy was OK, and he remained in the home just five days before he died.
DeAnn Young, who lives in the mobile home park, was devastated by the news.
"Somebody out there dropped the ball, and it's really sad that it happened. The whole thing just really chokes you up, you know what I mean?" asked Young.
CBS 5 spoke with Skie Mora, Rich's cousin, who says the family buried Nathaniel this past Saturday. "He had the most beautiful smile," said Mora. "He was always very outgoing. He was a little daredevil, too."
She said her cousin made bad choices with the men in her life but she always took care of her kids. She said Rich hadn't been dating Grow very long and she has a hard time thinking about Nathaniel allegedly suffering at the hands of his mother's boyfriend.
"I don't want to believe that she let somebody do that to her son, but whatever the outcome is of the court hearings, they'll both get what they deserve and I believe there will be justice served for Nathaniel," said Mora.
Phoenix Children's Hospital sent CBS 5 News a statement Wednesday afternoon that said:
"Due to federal privacy laws, hospitals are not able to comment regarding a specific patient's situation or treatment. What I can tell you is that all patients who come to the hospital through the Emergency Department receive a comprehensive Medical Screening Exam and treatment appropriate to their medical condition at the time.
"Arizona Law requires all health care providers to report cases in which they have reasonable grounds to believe that the patient is a victim of injury, sexual abuse, assault, neglect, molestation or exploitation that appears to have been inflicted by other than accidental means or which cannot be explained by the available medical history.
"Under these circumstances, we would follow our policy to contact our Child Protection Team, which includes physicians, nurse practitioners, and social workers, all specially trained in Forensics. They report their findings, as necessary, to the County Attorney, Child Protective Services (CPS) and Law Enforcement. This process is confidential."
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