EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A Mesquite, N.M., man was arrested Thursday, accused of killing his girlfriend’s 5-month-old daughter in April. The child’s mother was also arrested Thursday.
Deputies with the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Department arrested 23-year-old Israel Mauro Ramirez, who was charged with abuse of a child — intentional (resulting in death) (child under 12) and abuse of a child — intentional (resulting in great bodily harm) (child under 12).
At about 1 p.m. on April 17, deputies and the Dona Ana County Fire Department were called to a residence at the 300 block of Las Parcelas Loop in Mesquite in reference to a call about a 5-month-old infant that was not conscious nor breathing. A distraught Ramirez, who identified himself as the child’s stepfather, had attempted CPR, which was not working. He also mentioned that the baby’s mother, Danielle Lujan, was trying to get to the home when she crashed and had to be transported to MountainView Regional Medical Center in Las Cruces.
The baby, Kamilah Hernandez, was transported to Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, where she reportedly “regained a pulse,” according to an arrest affidavit.
An initial investigation found that Ramirez was caring for Kamilah while Lujan was at work. About 30 minutes after Lujan left for work, Ramirez checked on the baby, who sleeping in a bassinet in a bedroom, because she reportedly would cover her face with blankets. He said Kamilah was fully covered with a blanket when he checked in on her and when he uncovered the baby, she was purple and not breathing.
According to court documents, Ramirez picked up the baby and shook her to see if she would respond. He then spanked Kamilah to see if she would cry, but she did not respond. Ramirez told investigators he then stuck his fingers in Kamilah’s mouth to check if she had anything that was causing her to choke, but he found nothing. That’s when he started CPR, which he said was not working.
Ramirez said he tried calling 911 but the call was not going through because his phone wasn’t working properly. He then called Lujan and asked her to call 911 and took Kamilah to a neighbor’s home to get help.
The neighbor said Ramirez started doing CPR, but commented that it was too rough for the baby. The neighbor said he witnessed Ramirez slap Kamilah on the face multiple times and that the compressions he was doing were with both hands. The neighbor said he saw Ramirez violently shake Kamilah multiple times and “her limbs and head just wobbled around.” Court documents state that the neighbor, who had CPR training, said Ramirez “appeared like he didn’t know what he was doing and when giving the baby breaths, he wasn’t doing it correctly.”
The neighbor started doing CPR on Kamilah using just thumbs and giving her breaths. The neighbor said they believed the baby was coming back to life when Ramirez started to take over CPR and was again being too rough, saying Ramirez was “beating her up.”
A doctor at MMC stated that the baby had several bruises, one on her left cheek, one on her upper left thigh and a third one on her lower back. X-rays showed multiple fractured ribs, both old and some healing, and a CT scan revealed bleeding in the frontal lobe and top layer of her skull. Some of the brain bleed reportedly occurred within 24 hours. The child had a severe brain injury, the doctor said. Kamilah, the doctor, would need to be transported to University Medical Center in El Paso.
A doctor at UMC stated that Kamilah’s injuries were consistent with long-term child abuse and Kamilah’s brain injury was consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome. In addition to the rib fractures, Kamilah had a spinal fracture that would only be caused by extreme force, the doctor said.
Court documents state that Ramirez blamed himself for causing the the brain bleed, but said the doctor told him the cracked ribs were consistent with CPR. He reportedly said he “(expletive) up” by shaking the baby, but only did so because he was trying to save her life.
A search warrant for Ramirez’s phone reportedly revealed a Google search on March 30 for “Why is my baby’s stomach hurting?” and “why is my baby’s stomach hurting to the touch?” On April 3, three more searches appeared: “what does a broken rib look like?”, “Baby broken ribs?” and “Baby ribs popping.” On April 16, a search for “What is hip dysplasia in babies?”
Ramirez was booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center on Thursday, where he is being held without bond.
Lujan was booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center on Thursday, where she is being held without bond. She is charged with abuse of a child — intentional (resulting in great bodily harm) (child under 12).
This story will later be updated with information about Lujan’s arrest.