HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — A 9-year-old boy who was fatally beaten over a missing birthday cake had been handcuffed for up to three hours a day for a week before the deadly assault, according to court records released Tuesday in Maryland.
A doctor who examined Jack Garcia before the boy died concluded his head injuries and extensive bruising came from numerous beatings and were consistent with torture, police said.
Jack Garcia’s mother, Oriana Iris Garcia, 26, approved of her boyfriend and brother handcuffing her son because “she was trying to teach Jack not to steal,” Hagerstown Police Detective Shane Blankenship wrote in charging documents.
The boyfriend, Robert Leroy “Roy” Wilson, 30, also disciplined Jack by slapping him in the head, boxing with him with padded gloves and hitting him in the leg with a bamboo sword, Garcia’s brother Jacob Andrew Barajas told police.
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Barajas, 23, said all three adults also made Jack eat food he had stolen “until he was sick of it,” and “used exercise to help Jack focus better,” the court records say.
They all lived in the apartment where Jack was assaulted June 30. He died July 5.
The documents detail second-degree murder and first-degree child-abuse charges against Garcia and Barajas. They were arrested Monday by police who say they had been preparing to leave town. Bail for each is set at $5 million. Neither has a defense attorney listed in court records.
They told investigators that Wilson inflicted the fatal injuries after Barajas had handcuffed Jack because he was suspected of stealing a cake belonging to Wilson’s 2-year-old daughter.
Wilson is being held on assault and child-abuse charges that were leveled before the boy died. His bail is set at $1 million. Wilson’s public defender, Joshua Street, didn’t immediately return a phone call Tuesday from The Associated Press.
Jack’s uncle told police that after the boy went unconscious from the beating, he placed him in a seated position on the floor and handcuffed him behind his back to a dining-room chair, using a bicycle lock as an additional restraint. Then, after Wilson went to get Garcia from her job at a Ross Dress for Less store, Barajas called 911 to say Jack was having trouble breathing.
When the paramedics arrived, Garcia sent them away, saying the boy was only “congested” and didn’t need medical attention — even though he was still unconscious, police say.
The boy’s mother told police Jack began “fading in and out” but not talking, so she tried to give him water. But she became alarmed when he started gurgling with every breath, so Wilson called 911 at 10:37 p.m., more than five hours after the first 911 call.
Paramedics wanted him airlifted to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington but foul weather delayed the flight. He was taken to a local hospital and transferred to the Washington hospital sometime after midnight.
The allegation that Garcia was complicit in Jack’s beating didn’t ring true to her former boyfriend, Daniel Fletcher.
“She was a loving mother,” Fletcher said in an interview outside the apartment.
He said Garcia favored time-outs over corporal punishment when they were together because she had read that physical punishment can make a child more aggressive.
Fletcher suggested Garcia must not have known how seriously Jack was hurt when she sent the ambulance away.
“I don’t believe for a second she would have sent them away, knowing that he was in peril, that he was injured the way he was,” he said.
Fletcher, 35, a market researcher now living in Orem, Utah, said he lived with Garcia and Jack for five years in Arizona and in Goleta, California, before she met Wilson online and moved in late February to Davis’ apartment in Hagerstown.
Fletcher said he flew to Maryland Saturday for Jack’s funeral.
“He wasn’t my boy but he was pretty much the only son I had,” Fletcher said.