The Los Angeles Police Department arrested a 28-year-old man in connection with the brutal murder of a 13-month-old toddler. According to a Los Angeles Times report, the man identified as Noe Torres was arrested for stabbing his own daughter who had only recently turned a year old. The baby, identified as Rosario Bautista was attacked by Torres on Friday in front of his girlfriend who also happens to be the child’s mother.
According to 64-year-old Manuel Velazquez, the couple’s next door neighbor, he was inside his apartment in the North Hollywood neighborhood when on Friday afternoon he heard his neighbor screaming. Velazquez rushed outside his apartment only to find a woman, his neighbor, holding her little daughter. The woman reportedly told Velazquez that her boyfriend had gone crazy and that he had stabbed the child. Velazquez also told police officials that he saw a fire coming from the apartment. Officials later confirmed that that Torres had indeed tried to set fire to the apartment after he stabbed the toddler. Velazquez immediately called emergency services and 911 following which emergency responders arrived on scene. The toddler was quickly taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Police Capt. Stephen Carmona on Saturday revealed that Torres had also stabbed himself and had sustained burn injuries from the fire he had set inside the apartment. Torres, he said, jumped out of the back window of the apartment after the heat from the fire got intense. He also refused to immediately surrender to police officials who had reached the apartment by then. According to Carmona, Torres refused to comply with a responding officer’s commands following which they had to use a taser to bring him under control and subdue him. Torres was eventually arrested and was charged with suspicion of murdering his own baby. He is currently being held on a $1 million bail. He also underwent a surgery for his self-inflicted stab wound.
According to Torres’ own family members, he might have been under the influence of methamphetamine when he committed the crime. Officials are, however, yet to confirm this. Following the incident which stunned the entire generally peaceful neighborhood, neighbors walked around the courtyard and talked in hushed tones. Some were also seen consoling other family members. There was also a distinctive smell of ash in the air from the burned belongings that were destroyed by the fire. Some of the neighbors who had gotten used to seeing little Rosario playing in the courtyard said they cannot believe what happened. Twenty-four-year-old Geraldine Calvillo, another neighbor, said she had only recently seen the child playing in the courtyard and that it is very hard to believe that the toddler is no more. She also has a daughter who is the same age as Rosario for whom a subdued birthday party was also held in the neighborhood on Saturday.
“It’s hard,” she said.
According to Manuel Velazquez’s young granddaughter Alyson Aspe, she was at school when the shocking incident happened on Friday afternoon. She revealed that her grandfather called her up soon after the incident following which she and her friend, who also happened to be a cousin of the deceased toddler rushed home. By the time they arrived, the area was cordoned off by the police.
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“I was shocked,” Alyson said. “I just carried the baby the day before.”
According to Aspe, while the family of three were known to be generally quiet, the couple were known for their fairly vocal arguments and occasional fights. She recalls little Rosario as a very shy baby who only warmed up to people she knew well. She was also shocked to learn that the incident had occurred in the complex where nothing of this sort had happened in the six years that she had been living there. Aspe described the area being normally safe – but she did acknowledge the presence of some gang members occasionally.
Meanwhile, police officers have described the incident as “tragic,” while adding that such incidents not only affect investigating officers, it affects the local community in general.
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