Couple Charged With Beating Infant to Death
The Iowa City Police Department on Sunday released more details of a 20-month-old's death that happened in late April
FROM IOWA CITY PATCH: Iowa City Police have charged an Iowa City couple with felony child-endangerment, accusing them of causing the death of 20-month-old Marcus Balderas, according to a department release issued on Sunday.
Mireya Balderas, 18, Marcus' mother, has been charged with one count of felony child endangerment resulting in death, and her boyfriend, Jorge Perez, 20, was charged with two counts of the same charge. These charges are class B Felonies punishable for up to 50 years in prison for each charge.
At 12:06 p.m. on April 30, police and members of the Iowa City Fire Department and Johnson County Ambulance Service responded to an apartment at 2018 Waterfront Drive, No. 120, in response to a report of a child, Marcus Balderas, who was having difficulty breathing. The child was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where he later died.
According to the police department news release, medical examination following the death showed that Marcus had broken ribs, multiple bruises on his head, face, back and stomach, internal injuries, and internal bleeding in his head. After the autopsy was performed, the manner of death was listed as homicide with the cause being blunt force injuries of the head.
After speaking with the couple, police determined that the couple had allegedly assaulted Marcus because he would not go to sleep. Perez allegedly admitted to hitting Marcus on his head with his knuckles at least twice and also slapping him in the face, holding a pillow over his face multiple times because the boy would not sleep, stepping hard on the baby's stomach, and tossing him from three to four feet high onto the ground and not catching him.
"I never meant to kill him, it was just an accident," Perez allegedly told investigators.
Balderas also allegedly took part in the assault on her child, hitting him numerous time in the head, putting a pillow over his face, and witnessing the assaults intiated by Perez against her child and not stopping him.
Balderas had apparently had opportunities to leave the relationship with Perez but she told investigators that she chose him over her son, according to the release.
Perez is being held at the Johnson County Jail with a bond of $500,000. Balderas is being held at the Johnson County Jail with a bond of $250,000.
The Iowa City Police Department, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Iowa Department of Human Services, and the Johnson County Attorney's Office continue to jointly investigate Marcus' death.