A couple in Barstow, California has been arrested and charged with murder after allegedly killing their 1-year-old son.
Ricardo Mendez and Antanita Miller were jailed on charges of torture, assault of a child, and murder late last week following a police investigation into their disturbing alleged activities in the California city.
Now, family members are coming forward to remember the deceased little boy — identified as 1-year-old Jamari Mendez (pictured above) — and recount what happened when they first discovered his lifeless body.
Jamari’s aunt, Leslie Mendez, spoke to KABC about the tragic situation involving her beloved nephew. According to Leslie, her 27-year-old brother Ricardo and his 24-year-old girlfriend Antanita unexpectedly showed up at a family member’s home in the city of Pomona, California, with their two other children. When asked about Jamari, the couple allegedly told family members that he was with Miller’s mother.
“They both walked inside like nothing happened.”
After some time, the grieving aunt claims Ricardo soon confessed to his family that Jamari was dead. Leslie also alleged that her brother fessed up to having stashed Jamari’s body in the trunk of their car. Horrified, Leslie rushed outside to retrieve her nephew, as she explained to the outlet:
“Everybody runs and he was covered in blankets. That’s when my two other brothers helped my sister-in-law take the baby out.”
Leslie and another family member rushed the boy to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead there after first responders were unable to revive him.
Ricardo and Antanita stayed behind at the family home. Police were called, and they immediately began to investigate the child’s suspicious death. In their investigation, detectives found Jamari’s body had been “covered in lesions, bruising, and burn marks,” according to police documents. Cops searched the car and also allegedly discovered “items used in Jabari’s alleged abuse,” according to People, reportedly including a torch lighter.
Police now believe the boy died at his home in Barstow prior to his family’s arrival at the relative’s home in Pomona. Now, after being charged with torture and murder, Ricardo and Antanita are in jail awaiting their next court date on Wednesday.
Leslie admitted to the media that the family has been crushed by this awful situation:
“Everybody is devastated. We didn’t expect our own blood to do this to his own son.”
In the meantime, Jamari’s grief-stricken aunt has launched a GoFundMe fundraiser to help cover the toddler’s funeral costs. On that fundraiser page, Leslie laments the terrible situation, writing:
“Jamari is my baby nephew, a victim of child abuse from both of his parents Ricardo Mendez and Antanita Miller. It’s unfortunate that we had to lose him at such a young age. We are all extremely devastated. My family and I are trying to raise money for all the funeral expenses that are needed. Anything is highly appreciated. Fly high baby you’ll be missed.”
Here is more on the incident and subsequent investigation:
Sending our love and condolences to Leslie and the rest of Jamari’s relatives and loved ones who must now grapple with the aftermath of this terrible, terrible tragedy.
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