Thursday, July 20, 2000

Father charged with murder

Grand jury indicts in death of infant girl

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Ramon Gomez was indicted Wednesday on a murder charge in the June 12 death of his infant daughter, who suffered two skull fractures, 22 rib fractures, a broken collarbone and numerous bruises.

        Mr. Gomez had been charged with felonious assault and child endangering while his 11-week-old daughter, Maria, was still alive in the hospital with multiple injuries that police say were caused by him and the girl's 16-year-old mother.

        But on Wednesday, a Butler County grand jury indicted Mr. Gomez, 21, of Hamilton, on more serious charges — murder, involuntary manslaughter, two counts of felonious assault and two counts of child endangering.

        Hamilton police on Wednesday filed new charges against Maria's mother, who is being held in the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center.

        She is charged with involuntary manslaughter, permitting child abuse, and two counts of child endangering. Police have asked that she be tried as an adult.

        Juvenile Court Judge Da vid Niehaus will hold a hearing today to determine whether to send the case of Maria's mother to the adult court system.

        Hamilton police have called it one of the worst physical abuse cases they've seen.

        The infant died June 12 when life support was removed at Children's Hospital Medical Center. Her mother and a family friend had brought the infant to a Hamilton hospital three days earlier.

        Police say the infant suffered constant physical abuse during her brief life.

        A Hamilton detective testified in an earlier hearing that Mr. Gomez admitted to him that he often hit and squeezed his daughter to stop her from crying.

        He said Mr. Gomez told him that on June 8, he laid the crying infant across his lap and punched her. The girl's mother took her to the hospital the next day because she appeared to have stopped breathing.

        Juvenile court officials have said that the infant's mother also struck her.

        If the mother were convicted in juvenile court, she could be held in the state juvenile-detention system for five years, until she turns 21. If she is tried and convicted as an adult, she could face a longer term in prison.

        Mr. Gomez is being held at the Butler County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bond.


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