Police Identify Infant Allegedly Shaken to Death by Father in Indio

Police Identify Infant Allegedly Shaken to Death by Father in Indio

News Staff

An infant who died last week was identified by authorities Thursday.

Marcos Fabian Fernandez was two days away from turning 3 months old when he was carried into John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio by his parents with traumatic injuries during the early morning hours of Jan. 16, according to Indio police spokesman Benjamin Guitron.

His parents, Leonardo Daniel Alvarado Fernandez, 33, and Zue Itzayana Flores Urias, 26, were arrested hours later on suspicion of his murder, an act they claimed was “God’s will,” police said.

The pair pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges on Tuesday.

In addition to murder, Fernandez was also charged with torture, two counts of wilful cruelty to a child and assault on a child under 8 years old resulting in death. The murder charge against him includes a special- circumstance allegation of inflicting torture, making him eligible for the death penalty if the district attorney decides to pursue it.

Police say Fernandez admitted to detectives that he shook his son until he stopped breathing as his wife watched, according to a court declaration in support of increased bail submitted by Indio police Detective Kelly Hawkins.

Urias allegedly admitted to detectives she did nothing to stop it.

She was charged with murder and assault on a child under 8 years old resulting in death. The murder charge against her does not include a special- circumstance allegation.

Hawkins contended the couple were recorded by police saying the boy’s death was “God’s will,” and that after they posted bail, they planned to flee to Mexico. Both defendants were born in Mexico, Hawkins added.

Police responded to the hospital on the report of the dead child at 4:28 a.m. Jan. 16, according to police. The couple were arrested at 12:15 p.m. that day.

Detectives later determined the child, who was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, died due to blunt force trauma and physical abuse.

The baby had suffered a “cut to the right eye, black eye, bruises to the back, chest, face, legs and bottom of the feet,” according to the declaration.

The couple have three additional children, who have been placed in the custody of Riverside County Child Protective Services, according to Guitron.

Both defendants were ordered to remain in custody without bail on Tuesday, and are scheduled to return to court Jan. 30 for a felony settlement conference, during which bail will be reconsidered.