Mexican woman arraigned for beating her boy to death

Brain trauma led to the death of the emaciated 5-year-old Hector Javier Loya Cota.

Police in the Mexican state of Baja California are holding a 28-year-old woman as the presumed killer of her 5-year-old son. Jesús Patricia Cota Gálvez took her child to a physician on February 22 for medical attention. The physician’s diagnosis was that the child was dead. The boy’s body showed signs of severe malnourishment as well as a severe blow to the head.  His name was Hector Javier Loya Cota.

Following a report by the attending physician, police in the town of Hidalgo arrested the alleged killer who was then arraigned near Tijuana. Upon questioning, Cota revealed that unlike the deceased child, she had properly cared for her other two children. Her treatment of little Hector came when Cota’s husband told her that the boy was not his son. Enraged by the accusation, Cota apparently starved the child to death.

Reports in Mexico indicate that Cota, in a fit of rage, dislocated one of Hector’s arms and fractured a leg because the child cried for something to eat.  This happened in San Diego CA, for which a finding of child abuse was filed against Cota. According to reports, she lost custody of her children for 18 months as punishment for negligence.  Cota left for Mexico and for time lived with her children in Sinaloa, a state in northern Mexico.

Returning to her husband, Cota continued to abuse the child, even after moving to Hidalgo, which is near Tijuana, in August 2011. Cota confessed in a hearing before Mexico’s Public Ministry that she had mistreated her son because of her husband’s constant denials of paternity. It was on the afternoon of February 18 that Cota found her son watching television at home. Claiming that the boy would not move out of her path, in anger she struck him with a blow so hard that he was knocked to the flood and struck his forehead.

Cota claimed that when she saw that the blow to Hector had caused his forehead to swell, she put ice on him to reduce the inflammation. Hector, in pain, now had difficulty breathing and would not eat. After several hours, according to reports, when Cota saw that his eyes and nose darkened considerably in color, she took the listless child for treatment.  

Following an autopsy, medical examiners determined that Hector died of anoxia secondary to cranial trauma. In other words, the blow Hector received to his head suppressed breathing to the extent that the blood going to his brain was not sufficiently oxygenated to maintain brain function. Anoxia is defined as a complete lack of oxygen in the brain.

Prosecutors in Tijuana are charging Cota with aggravated homicide. She will eventually face a judge to determine her sentence.  



Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

Filed under crime, mexico, crime, latino, hispanic, family, Americas

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