Tuesday, June 13, 2000

Infant dies; parents accused

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — An 11-week-old girl died Monday at Children's Hospital Medical Center, three days after police say her father struck her back with his fist.

        The baby's father, Ramon Gomez-Zilva, and her 16-year-old mother may face murder charges, said Hamilton Police Sgt. Tom Kilgour.

        Mr. Gomez-Zilva, 21, of Hamilton, is being held at the Butler County Jail on $100,000 bond, while the teen-age mother is in the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center.

        Both were arrested early Saturday on charges of felonious assault and child endangering.

        Maria Gomez-Zilva died at 2:44 p.m. Monday, shortly after being taken off life support, Sgt. Kilgour said.

        Hamilton police and the Butler County prosecutor's office will meet today to decide whether to replace the existing charges with a murder charge, he said. An autopsy report was not available Monday.

        The mother is not married to Mr. Gomez-Zilva, but had been living with him in the 300 block of Sycamore Street in Hamilton, Sgt. Kilgour said.

        On Friday night at her apartment, the mother discovered that Maria was not breathing, he said.

        “She ran to a neighbor's house, and they rushed the baby to Mercy Hospital Hamilton,” Sgt. Kilgour said.

        A Hamilton police officer saw them going through red lights and stopped them. When he saw the child had stopped breathing, he let them continue to the hospital while he followed, Sgt. Kilgour said.

        On Monday morning, before Maria died, Mr. Gomez-Zilva appeared in Hamilton Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing on charges of felonious assault and child endangering.

        Mr. Gomez-Zilva, a native of Mexico, told Judge John Rosmarin that he had no attorney and doesn't understand English.

        The judge postponed the preliminary hearing until Wednesday.


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