SALINAS, Calif. (KION) The Monterey County District Attorney's Office announced that a father found guilty of abusing his child and causing his death has been sentenced to prison.
The father, 27-year-old Hector Aguero Jr., will spend 35-years-to-life in prison for multiple child abuse charges.
In August 2018, investigators said the 6-month-old child's mother left him with Aguero when she left for work, and two hours later, he called 911 to report that the baby was unconscious, not breathing and in cardiac arrest.
The child was taken to Natividad where staff said they saw signs of severe trauma that was not caused by an accident. They said he had severe bruising on his buttocks and thighs that got darker and spread, and a CT scan showed that he had a skull fracture, brain injury from lack of oxygen, internal brain bleeds and older brain injuries that had healed already.
Staff were able to stabilize the baby, but said he showed no neurological activity. He was flown to Stanford Hospital where staff confirmed the injuries.
A pediatric opthamologist there found severe injuries to the baby's retinas, showing that he had been shaken "severely and violently" on the day he was first admitted to the hospital. Medical experts believe that he was shaken badly enough that he would have died within minutes to a few hours.
Four days after being admitted, the baby died of his injuries. An autopsy showed that he had multiple skull fractures to the back of his head, including two at the base of his skull, according to the DA's Office. Based on the size and location of the fractures, investigators believe the injuries were intentional, and they showed different levels of healing, suggesting that he had been injured at least two separate times.
Investigators said they found that Aguero had a history of domestic violence against the baby's mother, and the baby had visible bruises after being left alone with his father.
Aguero denied involvement and said the baby had a couple accidental falls on and before the incident, but later said he dropped the baby and spanked him for crying. The DA's Office said he did not provide any explanation for other injuries.
Multiple experts told the DA's Office that they believe Aguero's explanations did not explain the number or severity of the baby's injuries. They said they believe they are consistent with abuse and are among the most severe they have seen inflicted on a baby.