SAN ANTONIO – A 22-year-old mother and her boyfriend are behind bars after San Antonio police said they allegedly abused a 5-year-old girl, leading to her death.
Katrina Rose Mendoza and Jose Angel Ruiz, 25, are charged with assault – intentionally or knowingly causing serious bodily injury to a child in separate multi-count indictments.
The charges stem from an incident on Feb. 7, when Mendoza took her child, Mercedes Losoya, to an area hospital, unresponsive with “visible injuries,” police said. It’s unclear what those injuries were, but Mercedes later died at the hospital after medical staff attempted to revive her.
Homicide detectives were notified of Mercedes’ death and they launched an investigation. SAPD said detectives found evidence that linked Mendoza to her injuries.
On Thursday, Mendoza was taken from Public Safety Headquarters to the Bexar County Jail.
Ruiz is also charged with one count of injury to a child, which is in addition to other charges he’s currently facing from separate incidents.
According to an arrest affidavit, Mercedes had “visible bruises, scratches, cuts, and swelling on almost every visible part of her body.” Authorities said her injuries appeared to be at different stages of healing, indicating “continuous physical abuse over a period of time.” However, medical personnel did not confirm this.
In an interview, Mendoza told police the alleged abuse started three weeks before Mercedes’ death when she called Ruiz and asked for help with disciplining her.
Ruiz arrived at Mendoza’s home, and she placed Mercedes in the back of his vehicle, according to an affidavit. Ruiz drove away with Mercedes and later video called Mendoza.
Mercedes was seen crying while holding up a heavy object, police said. Mendoza told the child she had to keep holding the heavy object as part of her punishment, the affidavit states. It’s unknown how long she held the object.
Authorities said a few days passed before Mendoza saw Mercedes and Ruiz again. When Mendoza saw Mercedes, she had bruising on her face and had bruises and cuts on her inner thighs, according to an affidavit.
Over the course of the next few weeks, Mendoza and her two children moved into Ruiz’s apartment. She told police she witnessed several other instances of alleged abuse to Mercedes from Ruiz.
Mendoza’s other child, a six-year-old girl, was removed from her family’s custody and is currently in the custody of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, an affidavit states.
Ruiz spoke to detectives and admitted to punishing Mercedes, but he claimed Mendoza was the one who allegedly beat her. Police said Ruiz “appeared to be deflecting responsibility for his actions onto Mendoza and the victim’s sister.” Ruiz was later booked on the injury to a child charge.
The cause of Mercedes’ death is still undetermined and pending results from the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office, according to police.
We’ll bring more updates as they become available.