Texas man charged with killing girlfriend’s 2-year-old son, says he hit boy with fists: police

Arturo Santiago Pena-Almanza Jr., 23, has been charged with capital murder

IRVING, Texas – A man has been charged with killing his girlfriend's 2-year-old son in suburban Dallas after confessing to hitting the boy with his fists, police said.

Irving police said Friday that Arturo Santiago Pena-Almanza Jr., 23, was charged with capital murder in the death of Jeremiah Degrate Rios.

Police said officers and fire department personnel responding to an unconscious person call Tuesday morning found the child dead inside an apartment.

After investigators determined the death wasn't an accident, Pena-Almanza was arrested Wednesday on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child, police said.

During an interview with investigators Thursday, Pena-Almanza confessed to hitting the child several times because the child wiped feces on him, police said. Pena-Almanza’s charge was then upgraded to capital murder.

An autopsy found multiple blunt force trauma injuries to the child’s body, including his head, according to an arrest warrant.

According to an arrest warrant, surveillance video showed Pena-Almanza leaving the apartment in the night with an alert and awake Jeremiah. When Pena-Almanza returned about 50 minutes later, Jeremiah appeared limp.

Pena-Almanza was being held Friday in Dallas County Jail. His bond was set at $500,000. Jail records did not list an attorney for him.