Oscar Sanchez-Rivera, 24, and Viameri Santana-Berrios, 27, have been accused of killing a nine-month-old baby by injecting him with heroin and cocaine. The two were babysitting Milton Galarza-Rojas when they allegedly injected him with the drugs.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, doctors found "track marks," that is, bruises left by a puncturing needle, on the baby's hands and feet. They also found undigested heroin and cocaine in his system.
The Daily Mail reports that the details of circumstances leading to the little boy's death were revealed at a preliminary hearing in a Philadelphia court where Sanchez-Rivera, 24, is standing trial for murder. His girlfriend, Santana-Berrios, was charged with third-degree murder after a five hour hearing.
The Blaze reports Rojas had so much drugs in his body that an overwhelmed medical examiner likened him to a drug mule, the term for people who smuggle drugs by ingesting it.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a paramedic Dale Schroeder, testified that he and his partner responded to a 911 call at 2:36 a.m., on July 26, 2011, at an apartment in the 4500 block of North Seventh Street. He told the court that he saw "track marks" usually found on drug addicts on Roja's body when he was trying to revive him. He told the court that he was called to the home after a report that the baby was unresponsive. According to Schroeder, Santana-Berrios took him to a bedroom where Sanchez-Rivera was standing with the baby who was lying naked on a bed.
Schroeder said that the baby was cool to the touch, pale and unresponsive. According to Schroeder, after efforts to revive the child failed, he and his partner took the baby to St. Christopher's Hospital for children where he was pronounced dead.
Schroeder said that the baby's body temperature was too low to register on a rectal thermometer. Medical examiner Lieberman Edwin, said autopsy revealed eight needle marks on the feet and hands of the baby. Autopsy also revealed undigested heroin and cocaine in the child's stomach.
Baby Milton Galarza-Rojas
According to the Daily Mail, the defendants, in their statement to investigating officers, said the baby had a history of breathing problems. They said the baby began snoring and stopped breathing and turned blue.
The Daily Mail reports the two were looking after the baby for Iris Rojas, Santana-Berrios's cousin.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, defense attorneys contested the charges during Tuesday's preliminary hearing.
Although Oscar Sanchez-Rivera admitted he is a heroin user, his attorney Michael Medway, argued that it made no sense for him to inject an overdose of drugs into the child. He said he and his girlfriend were only watching the baby for her cousin. Medway asked: ”Why? Because the kid is too much of a pain?”
Santana-Berrios's lawyer Rania M. Major-Trunfio, also said that neither autopsy nor witnesses could show that it was his client that injected drugs into the baby.
The defense lawyers all tried to push the blame on other's clients and even tried to implicate the boy's mother, Iris Rojas. The prosecutors, however, cited the testimony of Assistant Philadelphia Medical Examiner Edwin Lieberman, that the drugs must have been injected within six hours of the baby's death.
Prosecutor Kirn argued: “For 39.5 hours, this baby was in the care of these two people. Take a look at the math and at the level of care and how they acted. The body has track marks."
The Judge DeLeon, agreed with the prosecutor kirn, saying: "It comes down to the six hours before the child died." The judge queried the defendants: "You start with nothing's the matter with the kid and then the kid drops dead. And there's nothing, nothing you did to put the child in harm's way?"
The Municipal Court judge ordered Sanchez-Rivera to be held on a murder charge as well as conspiracy and child endangerment. Santana-Berrios was charged with third-degree murder. She was given bail of $150,000.