Two Las Vegas parents who allegedly started their 5-month-old baby to death — while still having a refrigerator filled with food — have been accused of torturing the infant and could now face the death penalty.
Authorities said Hannibal Oceja weighed only five pounds when he was brought to a hospital suffering from dehydration. As Las Vegas Now reported, the baby boy was in such bad condition that doctors could not even place an IV in his veins and had to inject it directly into his bone. The boy died at the hospital, and parents Loreana Martinez and Anthony Oceja have now been charged with murder.
Now, the parents are facing the possibility of the death penalty after prosecutors claim that the parents’ actions equate to torture. Chief Deputy District Attorneys Dave Stanton and Kristina Rhoades this week said they are pushing for the death penalty. They noted that there was no reason the baby boy should have been starving to death, as there were bottles and a breast pump in the home and enough food for the parents and their three children.
As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, Hannibal Oceja weighed more at birth than the time he died five months later. Doctors told police that he should have weighed between 18 and 20 pounds at five months, but Hannibal was just five pounds when he died.
At a grand jury hearing on the boy’s death, one juror audibly said “Oh my God” when prosecutors showed a picture of the emaciated boy in the hospital.
Court transcripts showed that Martinez claimed she was suffering from postpartum depression, though Las Vegas Now noted that it was unclear if that played a role in the boy’s death. Loreana Martinez reportedly told police that the boy was healthy and that her other children also developed slow.
Police claimed that the two other children also showed developmental delays, though it was not clear if it was the result of abuse or neglect. During a search of the family’s home, they noted pictures on the refrigerator of the other children as infants and they also appeared to be malnourished, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Loreana Martinez and Anthony Oceja are charged with murder as well as child abuse and animal cruelty after police found four dogs that were also found suffering health effects from not being fed.