Affidavit: Cellphone video leads to arrest in deadly child starvation case

Brandon Cervera, 28, accused of abusing his son

It appears San Antonio police may have cellphone video to thank for helping them to solve a case involving the death of a four-year-old boy.

SAN ANTONIO – It appears San Antonio police may have cellphone video to thank for helping them to solve a case involving the death of a four-year-old boy.

They arrested the boy’s father, Brandon Cervera, 28, Thursday on a charge of injury to a child.

He is accused of playing a role in the starvation and abuse of Benjamin Cervera, 4, last summer.

An arrest warrant affidavit says another family member brought the child to a hospital in an unresponsive state Aug. 17.

Medical staff then called police after noticing bruises in various stages of healing on the child’s body, the affidavit says.

It says during their investigation, police obtained images and video from a cell phone that belonged to a family member.

The affidavit says police observed Benjamin begging for food and water in some of the videos, and at one point, being made to drink hand sanitizer.

It says during an investigation of the family’s home, police found the refrigerator and cabinets locked.

They also found that Benjamin had been sleeping in a locked room that had only a urine-stained mattress on the floor, the affidavit said.

It says the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled out the bruises as the cause of Benjamin’s death, but later determined, based on his malnourished and underweight body, that he died of starvation.

The affidavit references another person who appears to be a second suspect in the case.

However, as of Friday morning, that person had not been arrested.


About the Authors:

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.