Man arrested for murder, child abuse in death of 1-year-old in south Phoenix

Police say the man had been in a relationship with the child’s mother for only a month
Diego Garcia, 23, was booked for first-degree murder and child abuse.
Diego Garcia, 23, was booked for first-degree murder and child abuse.(Maricopa County jail)
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 11:00 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A man has been arrested after a one-year-old boy died from multiple injuries at a Phoenix hospital. Diego Garcia, 23, was booked on first-degree murder and child abuse.

Around 11 p.m. Wednesday, Phoenix fire crews responded to an apartment on Montezuma Street near Central Avenue and Baseline Road for the report of an injured child. Police were notified since the boy had visible injuries. The one-year-old was taken to a hospital with various injuries to his head, back, and abdomen, and was suffering from bleeding in the brain. The toddler died Thursday morning.

According to court documents, investigators learned the child had been with their grandmother until about 5 p.m. Wednesday, when the mother arrived to pick up the toddler. The mother then reportedly left him with her live-in boyfriend, Garcia, so she could go to work. The mother and grandmother told police the boy was not hurt and had been acting normally up until that point.

At about 9 p.m., Garcia reportedly called the mother and said the boy hit his head and was bleeding from the lip after playing with another child. She got home around 10:30 and found him sleeping, but noticed a cut lip and a visible bump on his head. She also couldn’t get him to wake up. She took the boy to her mother’s apartment on Montezuma Street and called 911.

Police interviewed Garcia and according to documents, he told them several stories about what happened. He reportedly said the boy ran into the edge of a door and hit his head on a wall, then another story that the child fell off the couch and hit his head. Per documents, Garcia also told investigators the toddler fell out of a crib and hit his head, then fell from Garcia’s arms when he picked him up. He also reportedly admitted to spanking the boy on his buttocks, back, and abdomen.

Garcia is being held in the Maricopa County jail on a $2 million bond. Police say he and the child’s mother had only been in a relationship for about a month.