LONGMONT, Colo. — A man has been sentenced to more than four decades behind bars after extensively abusing his girlfriend and her 2-year-old daughter. The child suffered life-threatening injuries.
Cristian Hernandez was sentenced on Tuesday to 42 years in the Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to first-degree assault with extreme indifference, second-degree assault including bodily injury with a deadly weapon, and domestic violence assault including injury to a pregnant victim.
The charges stem from Sept. 3, 2019, when Hernandez, who was 22 at the time, ran out of a room at the Lamplighter Motel in Longmont with the limp body of his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter. The child was flown to Children's Hospital in Denver.
Based on an investigation, police determined the child had suffered from "severe, life-threatening injuries" at the hands of Hernandez, including "compression fractures of her spine, two skull fractures, subdural hemorrhages, and retinal hemorrhages." They also found bruising all over her body associated with extensive physical abuse, according to the Twentieth Judicial District Attorney's Office.
Hernandez told authorities he had been alone in the hotel room with the child, and that she had fell off the bed when he was in the bathroom. He claimed to have found her on the floor and not responsive, according to the district attorney's office.
However, several doctors said the child's injuries didn't match this story. One neurosurgeon said the force that caused the child's brain injury was about equal to a fall from a two-story building, or "being hit in the head with a baseball bat swung at full speed," according to the district attorney's office.
When police spoke with Hernandez’s girlfriend, she said he had been abusing both her and her child in the weeks prior.
Hernandez was arrested Sept. 3, 2019, the same day as the incident.
In a joint statement following his sentencing, Chief Trial Deputy District Attorney Adam Kendall and Deputy District Attorney Breck Roesch said that even though Hernandez ended up pleading guilty to the charges, he didn't take responsibility for the crimes and blamed others.
In the statement, they also said the medical professionals' expert work saved the life of the young girl.
"We are delighted to report that she continues her recovery as a happy, energetic 4-year-old," the statement reads.