Bristol police: Married couple charged in connection to 4-year-old girl’s death
BRISTOL, CT (WFSB) – Two people are facing charges in connection to the death of a 4-year-old girl earlier this year, police said.
Bristol police said the child died in June 2022.
The cause of death has been labeled as fatal child abuse syndrome with blunt injuries of the head, torso, and extremities, and the manner of death is child abuse homicide.
Rocky Hernandez-DeJesus, 31, and Ashley Hernandez-DeJesus, 28, both of New Britain, were arrested and taken into custody on Tuesday. Police said they are a married couple.
Rocky Hernandez-DeJesus was charged with manslaughter first-degree, unlawful restraint first-degree, intentional cruelty to persons, risk of injury to a minor, conspiracy to commit risk of injury to a minor, and false statement.
Ashley Hernandez-DeJesus was charged with manslaughter first-degree, unlawful restraint first-degree, intentional cruelty to persons, risk of injury to a minor, and conspiracy to commit risk of injury to a minor.
Court documents say these two people were the child’s caregivers.
Bristol police did not identify the girl.
Both suspects appeared in court on Wednesday.
They told the judge they hired private attorneys. The judge gave them a new court date for January 12 and tonight they are out on bond.
Court records provide a bigger picture of what happened to the little girl.
Doctors say the victim suffered from an “anoxic brain injury”, which is caused when the brain is deprived of oxygen.
Back in June she was taken to Connecticut Children’s Hospital and was on a ventilator fighting for her life.
The suspects told police the victim fell at a playground, but medical staff were not convinced.
They stated, “the victim has visible injuries to her body, that are in various stages of healing, and which are not consistent with the alleged fall reported for this current incident.”
They added that the little girl had several marks scabbed over, and whatever caused it “had to be wrapped around a long time to cause that injury.”
According to documents, the girl had a bruise/abrasion to the left side of her head, accompanied by significant swelling. There was also a fresh bruise to the victim’s chin.
According to police, Ashley and Rocky Hernandez-DeJesus have given conflicting stories about what happened to the 4-year-old little girl, who was under their care.
At first, the pair said she fell in a playground – but evidence may suggest otherwise.
The couple reportedly told family members that the little girl fell down the stairs.
While exact details are still unclear, doctors found severe injuries to her head and torso including some that appear to be older and in the process of healing.
Another source of concern, there are marks found on the little girl’s wrist that Ashley said came from a balloon ribbon that she tied on her wrist.
Police found no evidence of balloons in their home and doctors say someone of her age and with her physical ability would not likely be able to tie the ribbon tight enough to cause those injuries.
Records also show, “the injuries to the victim’s wrists and ankles appeared to be deep into the skin, and were scabbed over. Many of the scabs were partially torn off, causing a re-injury resulting in an exposed wound. The victim’s physical appearance was extremely frail and thin.”
Outside the courthouse, Rocky told Channel 3 he was innocent while Ashley hid from the camera.
DCF had 13 reports regarding this family going back to 2012 before the little girl was even born.
4 of those were regarding abuse or neglect.
DCF says “prior to the incident in June 2022, the department had not received any reports of maltreatment specific to this child, but had received reports regarding this child’s siblings.”
The last report they say was in 2017. At one point the kids were given to a relative.
Amid that case, the little girl was born and she was also taken away.
However, in 2019, the little girl was reunited while the other siblings stayed with the relatives.
The case was eventually closed.
In June DCF was notified the 4-year-old was dead and began another investigation.
Both Ashley and Rocky have a court hearing on January 12.
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