Uncle charged with murder in young child's death

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Manuel Antonio Gonzalez By Andrew Michalscheck Manuel Antonio Gonzalez By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix man has been charged in the death of his 21-month-old nephew.

Manuel Antonio Gonzalez has been booked into the Maricopa County Jail on charges of child abuse and first-degree murder.

Fire department personnel responded to the area of 2000 S. 71st Lane on Friday afternoon after receiving a report of a drowning.

They arrived to discover that Xavier Becerra Martinez had been injured. His injuries, however, weren’t consistent with a drowning.

Phoenix Police officers were called to the scene and took Gonzalez and Martinez to the hospital, where Martinez eventually died.

Homicide investigators began looking into the case and discovered that Gonzalez had been watching his two small children and Martinez when the injury occurred.

Gonzalez first took Martinez to the next door neighbors to call for help, and claimed that the child had been playing with a hose and drowned in a puddle of water.

Police said Gonzalez’s story fell apart when it was determined that Martinez’s injuries were consistent with child abuse.

Gonzalez was the only adult watching Martinez when the injuries occurred, leading detectives to believe that there was probable cause to charge Gonzalez with murder and child abuse.

Phoenix Police continue to investigate the case.