A baby boy who was allegedly beaten by his mother’s 21-year-old boyfriend last September died Tuesday evening, police said.
About 20 family members circled around Adriel Garcia as he took his last breath around 10 p.m. at the Hospital for Sick Children.
He was admitted on Sept. 12 after sustaining serious injuries the day before. According to Jack Grilo, the boy’s great uncle, Adriel was declared brain dead with only 5% of his brain still functioning. The boy’s aunt spoke in a sombre voice as she recounted the night Adriel died.
“I had to say goodbye pretty much, but everybody is happy at least they were around for his last breath,” said Izilda Da Silva. “Everybody is trying to cope with it as best as they can. It’s not an easy situation.”
A Canada-wide warrant was issued by police last September for Ronnie Munoz-Hernandez, the mother’s boyfriend. He was charged with aggravated assault. However, his whereabouts continue to be unknown.
Staff Sgt. Richard McKeown of 12 Division said Munoz-Hernandez’s charges will likely upgrade to second-degree murder or manslaughter. Da Silva said she was wary of her sister’s 21-year-old boyfriend when they first met a couple of months ago. “I didn’t like him, but it was not up to me,” she said.
Asked about the reason why, she replied: “There was just a bad vibe.” Munoz-Hernandez was living with the mother and child when the assault occurred, said Grilo. On Sept. 22, police arrested and charged 33-year-old Juan Neira-Penaloza as an accessory to aggravated assault for allegedly helping the suspect evade investigators.
Da Silva declined to reveal the mother’s name, but said her sister was coping. “She’s dealing with it. I mean it’s not easy losing a child,” she said. “There are no words or anything anybody can really do to make this process any easier.” For Da Silva, she said she is heartbroken Adriel will no longer have play dates with her two-year-old daughter.
“He was in love with her and they were close. He was such a happy baby,” she said.
“He was a fighter until the end.”