Domestic partners face charges in child's death

Men’s adopted daughter, 3, died from blunt force trauma

Author: Paul Venema, Reporter,
Published On: Oct 31 2013 04:59:01 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 31 2013 06:40:44 PM CDT

Norbert Velasquez, 49, and his domestic partner, Matthew Aranda, 48, were considered ideal foster parents, according to Child Protective Services.

The men had provided foster care for several children and had adopted three siblings over several years, according to CPS investigator Charles Paul.

“I had pretty good confidence that the next time I would see them, the kids were older and in a good home,” Paul testified during Velasquez’s trial on injury to a child by omission charges.

Instead, he was the investigator on call the day Melody Velasquez, 3, died from blunt force trauma.

She suffered extensive brain injuries and a dozen broken ribs, according to doctors who treated her when she arrived by EMS at University Hospital on Jan. 10, 2009.

The men’s adoption of the child had just been formalized in December 2008.

“It was not a good day for me to be on-call that day, because when I had to go to that household for the one’s I considered a success story,” Paul said, “I was surprised.”

The following day, three adopted children and a teen in the home as a foster child were removed by CPS from the men’s home.

If he is convicted, Velasquez is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Aranda is awaiting trial on murder charges and also faces a life sentence if he is found guilty.

Testimony in Velasquez’s trial will continue on Friday in Judge Angus McGinty’s 144th District Court.

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