Little Village grandmother held without bond in infant granddaughter’s grisly murder

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After Manuela Rodriguez allegedly stuffed a sock deep down her 7-month-old granddaughter’s throat, bashed the infant’s head with a metal pipe wrench and used a motorized circular saw to slash the baby’s neck, chest and shoulder, she called her sister to tell her what she had done, Cook County prosecutors said.

“I did it,” Chicago Police said Rodriguez roughly said in Spanish when officers arrived on the bloody scene in the Little Village two-flat on Monday.

“I killed her.”

Rodriguez, who cut her own throat, allegedly admitted to paramedics and detectives that she viciously attacked Rose Herrera because she wanted her to stop crying while she babysat.

In court Wednesday, Rodriguez’s attorney, Ignatius Villasenor, said his client has a “diminished mental capacity” and had tried to seek help with her health problems before the tragedy.

Judge Maria Kuriakos-Cecil held 52-year-old Rodriguez without bond and ordered her to be housed at the Cook County Jail’s Cermak Hospital while she awaits trial.

Rodriguez “is not only a danger to society but a danger to herself,” the judge said as Rodriguez looked on wearing a paper gown.

Two of Rodriguez’s relatives who attended Wednesday’s court hearing refused comment.

Villasenor told reporters Rodriguez’s distraught family described her as a “sweet and wonderful” person and that nothing indicated that Rose was in danger while in her maternal grandmother’s care.

Rodriguez watched Rose everyday while her other family members went to work, Assistant State’s Attorney Barry Quinn said.

Rodriguez lived with her common-law husband on the first floor of the building and her two daughters and two grandchildren lived on the second floor in the 2800 block of South Avers Avenue, Quinn said.

The morning Rose died, Rodriguez had been watching the child on the second floor since 7:45 a.m. while her common law husband went to drive Rose’s 24-year-old mother to work, authorities said.

He returned to the couple’s first-floor unit at 9 a.m. and was later alerted by Rodriguez’s sister about the phone call, in which Rodriguez had admitted to killing Rose, Quinn said.

When the two went upstairs and looked through the window of the second-floor apartment, they saw Rodriguez and Rose lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor, Quinn said.

Rodriguez again admitted her role in Rose’s death when her sister and common-law husband came inside.

Rose was pronounced dead on the scene.

Emergency workers found the saw entangled in Rodriguez’s clothes and also observed an 18-inch pipe wrench nearby, Quinn said.

Rose died from cranial cerebral blunt force trauma from the two strikes she received on both sides of her head, officials with the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

The baby also suffered a large hemorrhage inside her skull and most likely suffocated because of the sock that was shoved down her mouth, according to the autopsy reports.

By the time Rodriguez started piercing Rose’s tiny body with the saw, she was already dead, authorities said.

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