OLIVIA, Minn. (WCCO) — A 19-year-old man is expected to be charged Tuesday in the death of a 19-month-old baby girl.
Tiana Moore was assaulted last Wednesday. She died in a hospital in St. Paul on Christmas Eve. The toddler lived in the western Minnesota town of Olivia in Renville County.
Her family said when they saw her right after she was brought to a Renville County hospital, she had bruises up and down the entire right side of her body.
“It’s a tragedy that should have never happened at all,” said family friend Tabitha Kempton.
Christmas is about celebration. For those who knew 19-month-old Tiana Moore, Christmas is about sadness
“I cried because I was very upset. Because I don’t see how anybody in the world could do that to her,” said family friend Sally Payne.
Tiana was found unresponsive in her family’s apartment in Olivia Dec. 22. Police said she had injuries so severe that she needed more urgent medical attention. She was flown to St. Paul Children’s Hospital.
“Obviously this is a tragic occurrence,” said Assistant Renville County Attorney Lawrence Stratton.
Stratton plans to file criminal charges against Sergio Turrubiates Jr.
A boyfriend of Tiana’s mother, he lived with them in their apartment. He is in jail in Renville County Monday night for allegedly killing the little girl.
“We have someone in custody. We’re trying to determine what happened and obviously we have some suspicions of what happened,” said Stratton.
Friends say Tiana was alone with the boyfriend that afternoon. They had seen him playing with other children before without any problems, so they don’t know what could have driven him to such an extreme as to hurt and kill Tiana.
She was her mother’s joy.
“And Tina loved that baby so much. That baby is Tina’s life,” said Kempton.
Tiana’s friends say she had a big heart.
“She’s just a lovable little girl,” said Payne.
A fund has been set up at a local bank to help cover the funeral costs for Tiana Moore.
Tiana Moore Fund
HomeTown Bank (320-523-2040)
1115 West Lincoln Avenue
Olivia, MN 56277
WCCO-TV’s James Schugel Reports