LAKEWOOD, Colo. - Lakewood police have arrested a man who they believe was responsible for the death of his girlfriend’s 4-year old son.
Jason Ramirez was found lying on the pavement outside his mom’s apartment on South Ames Street and West Alameda Avenue early Thursday morning.
Police say they received two 911 calls just after 7 a.m. on that day. One was from the mom’s boyfriend, Ever Alexander Lopez-Calidonio and the other was from a neighbor who saw Lopez Calidonio hitting the boy.
“The neighbor felt the adult male was assaulting the youngster,” said Steve Davis, of the Lakewood Police Department.
According to the arrest affidavit, Lopez-Calidonio, 24, told authorities that the boy wasn’t breathing and that he was trying to help. Lopez-Calidonio said he was taking Jason to daycare when the boy, who appeared to be sad and sleepy, suddenly collapsed.
But police question that explanation.
“The injuries that we are seeing to this child are inconsistent… with the explanation that we are hearing,” Davis said. “That makes us extremely suspicious.”
While Jason was carried to an ambulance, an officer observed Lopez-Calidonio pacing and repeating the phrase, “he stopped breathing.”
They were unable to properly interview Lopez-Calidonio at the apartment building, because of a language barrier.
Police said Jason was taken to the hospital, and was pronounced dead by a physician at 7:40 a.m.
In the hospital, officers were able to interview Lopez-Calidonio with the help of a translator. According to the affidavit, he told officers that after the boy collapsed, he tried to perform CPR before calling 911.
Officers also interviewed the child's mother, Angelica Reyes. She was on her way to work when the incident occurred. She said Jason wet the bed early in the morning, but that nothing else seemed abnormal.
The neighbor who called 911 said he and his wife were walking their children to school when they saw a man (Lopez-Calidonio) kneeling between two cars with a child, who was lying on his back.
He "saw the man's (Lopez-Calidonio) hands making a slapping motion towards the child's stomach."
The neighbor’s wife told officers that it appeared Lopez-Calidonio did not know how to perform CPR, and that the boy did not have a pulse.
According to the affidavit, investigators interviewed other neighbors and friends of the family. One told a story about Lopez-Calidonio causing injuries by spanking the child. Jason's aunt provided them with cell phone pictures of the injuries on the child's backside. The pictures were taken August 2, 2014.
An autopsy found several bruises on the boy, as well as a large amount of blood in the abdominal cavity. A blunt-force injury caused a laceration of the liver and hemorrhages on most major organs. Another hemorrhage was seen between Jason's scalp and cranium.
Although the mother initially denied any type of abuse within the home, the affidavit said she later confirmed that she had confronted Lopez-Calidonio about the spanking injuries.
Police say that during the interview, the boyfriend’s story changed several times.
Lopez-Calidonio initially stated that he did not push or hit Jason, and continued to deny that he saw Jason fall.
He later said the boy fell off his bunk bed earlier in the week, and then changed the time frame to three days ago.
After repeated questioning by the officer, Lopez-Calidonio suddenly remembered that he accidentally struck the boy Wednesday night while pushing his dog away.
He told police that he was lying on his bed Wednesday night, and his Chihuahua started biting him on the ear, so he pushed it away. He told the officer that when the dog bit him again, he pushed him away again and “accidentally punched Jason on his right side, under the rib cage.” He told police the boy stopped crying when he apologized and told him “it was an accident.” Lopez-Calidonio noted that he was a boxer when he lived in Guatemala.
In follow-up questions regarding her boyfriend’s statements, the boy’s mom told police that Jason had not had any falls or injuries since breaking his leg on a trampoline a few weeks ago.
Neither she nor her boyfriend were able to provide information, or a location, for the daycare provider.
Late Friday afternoon, crime scene investigators removed several bags of evidence from the family’s second story apartment.
A neighbor told 7NEWS she heard a loud thump in the apartment above hers, about 30 minutes before police were called. She said she doesn’t know what caused the thump, but can’t help but wonder if it was related to the boy’s injuries.
Another neighbor said Jason has two sisters who recently moved to New Mexico to stay with relatives, after their mom’s boyfriend moved in with her.
Police arrested Lopez-Calidonio for investigation of Child Abuse Resulting in Death.
He’s being held on $500,000 cash bond and is due back in court October 9 for formal filing of charges.