Autopsy shows rib fractures, bite mark and other trauma on 9-month-old killed by father: prosecutors

Joshua Juarez was ordered held without bail Wednesday on a charge of first-degree murder in his son’s death last week.

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Joshua Juarez

Joshua Juarez

Chicago police arrest photo

An autopsy on a 9-month-old who died last week found the boy suffered trauma across his body, including fractured ribs, injuries to his ears and a bite mark, according to prosecutors.

Joshua Juarez, the boy’s father, faces a count of first-degree murder in the infant’s death and was denied bail Wednesday at his initial hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Prosecutors said Juarez, 28, admitted to becoming “angry and frustrated” when the boy, Josue, cried, so he held him upside down. Juarez also allegedly told investigators the infant “does not have respect” when Juarez was not around and admitted to slapping the boy on the face and leg. He said the boy’s mother had previously told him “not to be so hard on the baby,” prosecutors said in court.

When the boy began crying about 5 p.m. Saturday, Juarez pushed the boy’s face down into the bed they were both in and then hit the boy in the face, causing his nose to bleed, prosecutors said. He then wrapped the boy in a blanket and put him in his crib.

When the boy’s mother looked in on him later, she found he was pale and his lips were purple and called 911 a little more than an hour later, authorities said. Chicago police said the boy’s parents told investigators the child had choked on food.

Paramedics who arrived to their Chicago Lawn home in the 3000 block of West 60thStreet found no vital signs, and the boy was pronounced dead at Holy Cross Hospital.

An autopsy by the Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled the boy’s death a homicide by child abuse the following day.

Prosecutors said the boy’s injuries included fatal head trauma, but that the boy also showed signs of past abuse, including abrasions to his head and body, bruises to both ears as if someone had pulled and twisted them downward and several fractures that were in the process of healing, including to the ribs and upper arm.

“A patterned set of abrasions to the left chest, which could have been caused by a shoe tread as the pattern is unusual,” prosecutors said of another injury.

Other injuries the boy suffered included a bite mark made by an adult that was found on the boy’s thigh, a tear to tissue that connected the boy’s bottom lip to his jaw and trauma to both eyes that caused retinal bleeding, prosecutors said.

Juarez has a history of domestic violence, prosecutors said, including a conviction for domestic abuse in Indiana that involved the boy’s older brother, for which he was still on probation, prosecutors said. In that case, Juarez wrapped a blanket around the neck of the then 2-month-old brother and attempted to choke him, prosecutors said.

He was also convicted of a misdemeanor count of domestic battery in 2012, prosecutors said.

A spokesman for the state’s Department of Child and Family Protection said they had not had prior contact with the family but were investigating the boy’s death.

An assistant public defender for Juarez said he moved to Chicago in 2008 and has two other children who live in Puerto Rico, where Juarez was born. The attorney said Juarez was most recently working as a forklift driver.

Citing the lengthy list of injuries to the boy and Juarez’s previous convictions, Judge Susana Ortiz ordered Juarez held without bail. His next court date was set for Jan. 27.

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