Justice is Coming For 2 Year Old Murder Victim - Rene Torres
On September 15, 2010, a mother and her boyfriend - who were charged with murder and torture of her two year old baby boy, in August 2009, will once again be brought in front of a Pasadena Superior Court Judge, at the Pasadena Superior Court House, 300 E. Walnut Street, Pasadena. Maria Pelaez, 30 and her boyfriend, 33 year old, Gabriel Diaz, are being held on $2,000,000 and $2,030,000 bail - respectively, after her son, 2 year old, Mauricio Rene Torres Jr. died from a discipline session - "Little Rene's feet, legs, arms and mouth had been taped the night before he died, because the toddler had been fussy at day care earlier in the day."
When his mother and her boyfriend, got up the next morning - little Rene was not breathing. Placing a call to 911, proved to be too little, too late. Officers from the Pasadena PD said; they found the baby unresponsive in his crib, CPR was unsuccessful and a few minutes later paramedics arrived and pronounced little Rene dead, at the scene.
"You have a healthy 2-year-old that dies, it feels suspicious," said Janet Pope-Givens from the Pasadena Police Department. "We don't know what that is and until we can determine any other causes at this point we're going to launch a police investigation. Whether it was intentional or not, the child still died and it is being investigated as a homicide.”
Maria and Gabriel, admitted to Law Enforcement Officers they had been "disciplining" little Rene who had just celebrated his second Birthday, on August 3 - for several months, by restraining him, after investigators found clothing that belonged to the baby, that had been hidden, still covered in tape. The couple had been in Las Vegas for several days, when they returned and picked up Rene, at the home of his babysitter, he was tearful and didn't want to leave - this is the reason Diaz gave for punishing little Rene on the night of August 17, 2009.
Police arrested Diaz and Pelaez, due to what they called "the suspicious nature of the call" and what police found during the investigation. They were each initially held on 1 million dollars bail. At their arraignment. Pelaez was charged with murder and with torture, Diaz with murder, torture and possession of meth. Pelaez is being held at, Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood. Diaz was moved to the Pitchess Detention Center East in Castaic, on July 30, 2010.
Pictures on Pelaez's MySpace page show a cute little guy, with big brown eyes and a sweet, shy smile. The photos are labeled 'The love of my life', 'My World' and 'My Sunshine'. Tragically, after Maria Pelaez let Gabriel Diaz into her life and home, something changed - Rene, lost that most important space in her heart.
Information about what exactly was going on in the home, slowly came out in the press. Pelaez, a single mother of 3, has two daughters, ages 11 and 14 - who had gone to live with their father in Mexico, in the spring of 2009. While there was no prior contact from CPS, Diaz had a prior conviction for possession of a knife.
Maria's sister, Fatima Pelaez, said; the family, who live the front residence, had little contact with Diaz and didn't know he had moved into the family's rear home, on Summit Avenue. She believes her sister "became a different person" after she started dating Gabriel Diaz. But her family never saw any evidence of the alleged abuse - certainly not of the torture allegations Maria Palaez is now facing. "I honestly think my sister needs a lot of mental help, because she was never like that towards the baby," Fatima Palaez said. "She became a different person with this man."
During the last hearing on April 20th, a police detective said, Pelaez told him her live-in boyfriend, used masking tape to bind the toddler when he misbehaved. Detective Keith Gomez, testified during the hearing that, Maria Pelaez, also told him she saw Diaz smothering the baby with a blue Mickey Mouse blanket, hours before Rene's body was found dead, in his crib. Investigators believe the cause of death to be asphyxiation. They each face up to life imprisonment, on the murder and torture charges, if they are convicted.
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