Suspects in child beating could face capital murder

Kayla Garcia, 4, died of her injuries

SAN ANTONIO - A couple suspected of beating a 4-year-old girl could face capital murder charges, now that the child has died from her injuries.


Relatives said Kayla Garcia, 4, died Wednesday night after spending three days on life support.

San Antonio police said she suffered a major head injury, as well as bruising and, possibly, cigarette burns on her body as the result of a beating.

Police began investigating the case Sunday night after the child was brought first to Christus Santa Rosa Childrens Hospital, then flown by helicopter to University Hospital.

They arrested the girl’s mother, Melanie Garcia, 20, and the mother’s boyfriend, Matthew Carrillo, 23, on Monday morning on charges of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury.

"That's an awful situation, and a situation that we look at very seriously in terms of charging the individuals responsible for the abuse, " said Catherine Babbitt, chief of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Family Justice & Victim Protection Division.

Babbitt said her office will review the case and could decide to upgrade the charges to capital murder. She said it’s still early in the investigation, but the law allows 90 days from the time of the arrest for a suspect to be indicted.

“They've been arrested. The bond has been set, I believe, at $200,000. They're not going anywhere," she said.

Relatives of Kayla Garcia told KSAT 12 News earlier this week that they suspected the child was being abused and had filed a report with Child Protective Services in March.

In a statement released Thursday, CPS spokeswoman Mary Walker said, “ A thorough investigation entailed,” but that the people who were interviewed by investigators denied the abuse, and there was no bruising found on the girl.

“Unfortunately, circumstances and situations can change dramatically in a short period of time,” Walker said, “and more often than not, we find that people are not always honest and forthright in the answers they give us."


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