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Jun 29, 2009

Alleged physical abuse leads to death of toddler

Story PictureIt’s a heartbreaking story with a tragic ending for an Orange Walk mother who is mourning the death of her two year old son. While losing a child is painful for any mother, Felicia Tejeda’s grief is compounded by the circumstances in the death of her toddler, Ezekiel. The baby allegedly died from injuries received from his step father, Elijah Miller. Tejeda, a juice vendor, left her three children at home with Miller while she went to buy ice on Friday and when she returned her common-law husband told her he had beaten them because they were eating too many mangoes and playing where there was smoke. But Tejeda says she knew there was something wrong because the child could not hold himself up when he was placed on the sofa. And while Miller consistently blamed the mangoes for the child’s illness and offered to get him Alka-Seltzer, Tejeda took Ezekiel to the hospital. After several hours and two trips to the emergency room, the toddler died on the operating table. News Five met the family as they awaited the results of a post-mortem and Tejeda told us what happened to baby Ezekiel.

Felicia Tejeda, Mother of Deceased Child
“When we reach dah hospital, we gone inna emergency, dehn tek wah lee while before dehn tend to di baby. When di doctor do tend to di baby he dah di one weh do all di explaining to di doctor. He neva give me wah break fi mek I seh nothing. He dah di one weh seh maybe dah di mango do di baby bad or dah di smoke or di mosquitoes; all kind ah excuse he mi di put. From deh dehn give di baby wah injection and tell me wait half an hour and bring di baby back in. So I did wait half an hour. When I mi di sit down outside I tell ah Eiley weh wrong wid me baby? I tell ah like dat and weh yoh do mi baby? He seh he noh do di baby nothing. I notice wah bruise underneath ih chin and some bruises pan ih hand. I ask ah weh yoh do di baby? He seh he noh do ah nothing.”

“From deh now we ker back di baby gone check in dah di hospital and di doctor just put di thing fi ih heartbeat and he just set it pan di lee bwai shirt. Ih noh even like set it pan ih chest fi check di lee bwai heartbeat good. Ih give di baby wah injection and from den he just prescribe wah medicine fi di baby. So I did gone dah mi sista and pick up di two lee baby hurry and I gone dah di lee bwai granny. When I reach deh di granny di tell me dat one ah di pickney tell wah friend of mines dat he beat di baby, dat he slam di baby inna di wall and dat ih stone ah up and di lee gial tell me dat ih swing di baby round and dat ih stone ah wid wah pint. When I ask di pickney dehn, di pickney dehn seh dat ih stone ah inna ih belly.”

“When I reach home I just find di house open up and nobody noh deh home and I di holla fi he and di baby. And as soon as I holla fi di baby and he, I come out pan di roadside and when I mi watch down by BELCOGEN deh so wah vehicle come and ih stop right front ah mi; wah Mennonite and ih tell dat ih just ker my baby dah hospital ih seh because di bwai run out wid di baby seh dat ih need help and den di man tell me dat di baby look like ih done mi di go already. So I gone dah emergency and I di ask fi mi baby, ask fi mi baby and den dehn tell me dehn di operate pan mi baby. Dat’s all dehn tell me and den I wait and wait and den finally dehn come and tell me my baby just dead pan di operating table.”

Jose Sanchez
“If charges will be made against Mr. Miller, what could those charges be?”

Detective Cpl. Jeffery Williams, C.I.B., O.W.
“At this point in time we are investigating and we are working with the DPP office and we will decide a charge based on evidence.”

Jose Sanchez
“Has Mr. Miller or his wife been cooperating?”

Detective Cpl. Jeffrey Williams
“Mr. Miller’s wife so far. We are watching at all angles at this time and we definitely, if that is so, he will be charged.”

Keith Swift, Channel Seven
“Is there a history of abuse?”

Detective Cpl. Jeffrey Williams
“So far, according to the common-law, yes there was some abuse in the past.”

Jose Sanchez
“Is that of the child or of the common-law-wife?”

Detective Cpl. Jeffrey Williams
“Both, the common-law wife and the child. There was another incident some time this year where something different was reported by the common-law wife to police.”

Jose Sanchez
“Any charges were made against him then or…?”

Detective Cpl. Jeffrey Williams
“This matter just surfaced due to this incident.”

Tejeda’s aunt told News Five that the doctors informed her that Ezekiel had water in his lungs and while they attempted to remove it, they found that he suffered from internal trauma. And according to Tejeda, this is not the first time Miller has been violent with her son. In September of last year she claims Ezekiel had a bruised right eye. Miller then claimed that the child fell from a tree but Tejeda says that was unlikely since he was only a year old. Miller is now in police custody.

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