OLIVIA, Minn. (WCCO) — A 20-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder for the death of a 1-year-old girl.
Sergio Turrubiates, Jr. was charged Tuesday after police say he allegedly assaulted the toddler, Tiana Moore, last Wednesday. Tiana passed away at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul on Christmas Eve.
Two people were arrested for trying to attack Turrubiates as he entered the courtroom on Tuesday afternoon. Both attackers were tackled by law officers.
According to the criminal complaint, Olivia Police were dispatched to the Renville County Hospital for a report of a child that was unresponsive. Upon arrival, police met with the child’s mother, who said she was at work for most of the day and left Turrubiates and Tiana at her apartment on the 800 block of Evergreen Avenue.
She said the three of them live at the apartment together. When she came home from work, she said Turrubiates came out of the bedroom where she and Tiana sleep, saying the toddler had been throwing up and would not wake up.
She told police she noticed a bruise on her little girl’s forehead, which was not there when she left for work. She also noticed Tiana was wearing different clothes than what she had dressed her in earlier.
Police spoke with Turrubiates at the hospital and he said the little girl fell off a blanket that he was using to pull her around the apartment. He said when she fell, she hit her head and it left a rug burn on her face. He told police she seemed normal and did not cry, according to the complaint.
Turrubiates also told police nothing happened that would’ve caused her to become sick and that Tiana didn’t start throwing up until her mother came home from work.
Police said they noticed two marks on Tiana’s forehead that were bruised and swollen. The physician told police Tiana was unresponsive and had fluid in her lungs. The doctor said they also noticed an injury to Tiana’s tongue.
Investigators interviewed Turrubiates, who told them at one point Tiana had “got on (his) nerves” but he “cooled down.” He also told police he was bouncing Tiana on the bed and she fell off and hit her head on an end table.
He told investigators that when she started crying, he picked her up and began shaking her, but said the shaking was “not my hardest.” He later admitted the shaking may have been harder than he thought.
A physician told investigators that Tiana had a fractured skull on the back of her head, which caused swelling and bleeding in her brain. The doctor said Tiana was comatose and the injury appeared to be caused by blunt force trauma.
The surgeon that operated on Tiana told police a significant amount of force would be required to cause that kind of fracture — more than just hitting her head on an end table.
A preliminary autopsy report lists the cause of death as traumatic head injury with the manner of death ruled a homicide.
Investigators later found areas in the apartment with apparent blood deposits and a bag in the garbage outside the building that had a towel with blood stains and a toddler-sized outfit that was torn in half, also with blood stains.
WCCO-TV’s James Schugel Reports