10:00 PM, Mar. 28, 2012 | Written by KIMBALL BENNION
The two sides arguing in the upcoming trial of a man accused of killing a 2-year-old Great Falls girl in June revealed portions of their strategies Wednesday as the April trial date loomed.
David Wayne Hyslop is accused of deliberate homicide in the death of October Perez, the daughter of his former girlfriend who died of head injuries she sustained while under his care. Hyslop is maintaining his innocence and told police at the time of his arrest that the girl's injuries were accidental.
Hyslop's attorneys Larry LaFountain and Vince Van der Hagen went before District Judge Julie Macek as prosecutors John Parker and Susan Weber presented motions on behalf of the Cascade County Attorney's Office.
Perez's mother and father, Kristy Perez and Michael Arndt, were both in attendance at the hearing, as were other extended family members from both sides. Perez and Arndt were no longer a couple at the time of October Perez's death.
As the various motions came before the court, snippets of what each side intended to argue at trial came to light. Both sides will seek to use evidence of previous abuse against Perez to argue their sides. Parker, the Cascade County Attorney, said Wednesday that the state plans on calling medical experts who will testify that Perez had previous injuries — including broken bones and prematurely missing teeth — that suggest she suffered from "battered child syndrome," a medical diagnosis that indicates child abuse.
Parker said bringing this evidence to light was "critical to showing non-accidental trauma."
"We believe that we need to get the entire presentation and the entire truth in front of the jury," Parker said.
LaFountain said that he didn't object to presenting medical evidence of prior abuse during trial, but said he was worried the prosecution would try to tie that evidence to Hyslop, and that he feared prosecutors would "try to establish an identity that medical evidence simply does not support."
"The state seems to want to sneak in the back door," LaFountain said.
In arguing for his innocence, Hyslop's attorneys will contend that someone else besides Hyslop may have been responsible for Perez's death and may use the same medical evidence to support their case.
In paperwork filed before the hearing, prosecutors wrote that the defense counsel in interviews with state witnesses had mentioned Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a disorder in which caregivers intentionally injure children to get sympathy or attention from others. In another document filed by the defense in a separate motion, the defense also wrote that "if the state would have better investigated the child's circumstances at the outset, this child would have been removed from her mother weeks before her death."
While no one at Wednesday's hearing explicitly said that the defense planned on arguing that Perez's mother, Kristy Perez, was responsible for the girl's death instead of Hyslop, the defense's strategy to establish the possibility of another perpetrator seemed clear. Court documents state that Perez was attending a college class at the time her daughter received her fatal injuries, but the defense did not dispute that the girl was likely abused by someone before her death.
"There are a lot of injuries on this child, a lot of different bruises, and a lot of things indicating child abuse," Van der Hagen said.
Macek ultimately ruled that the state was allowed to present medical evidence of past abuse, but under a stricter rule that would not allow prosecutors to tie the previous instances with the specific injuries for which Hyslop is charged. She also allowed prosecutors to use the evidence to show intent and "for the specific purpose of disproving abuse by mistake or accident," since Hyslop has asserted Perez's fatal injuries were accidental.
Macek also denied a motion by the defense Wednesday to move the trial to a different venue outside of Cascade County. LaFountain argued that media coverage of the case was inflammatory enough to unfairly prejudice potential jurors in Cascade County.
"My client has been sufficiently prejudiced here in the media's presentation," LaFountain said.
In paperwork he filed before the hearing, LaFountain wrote that news reports reported that Hyslop's own children were taken away from him in an unrelated case out of Oklahoma, which he alleged wasn't true. The allegation was brought up in initial charging documents filed by the state and was reported in a Tribune article published June 28, as well as by other local media.
LaFountain also argued in court documents that extensive coverage of child abuse issues in Great Falls unfairly used Hyslop as an example when citing specific instances of alleged abuse.
Citing that the defense has the burden of proving prejudicial media coverage in a change-of-venue request, Parker argued that LaFountain did not include specific reports showing the alleged prejudice, adding that high profile coverage wasn't a good enough reason to change venues.
"There certainly has been no shortage of high profile cases that have been tried in this jurisdiction," Parker said.
Macek ultimately agreed with the prosecution and denied the change of venue.
The trial is still on track to begin April 23, when the jury selection process will begin. Macek indicated that 100 people from within the county will make up the initial jury pool.
October Perez: 3 years later
Posted: Feb 11, 2015 2:08 PM PDT Updated: May 20, 2015 12:13 PM PST
(Originally aired June 25, 2014)
October Perez was pronounced brain dead at 1:28 a.m. on Saturday, June 25, 2011, due to severe bruising and blunt force head trauma that was consistent with child abuse.
"She died too young, because she was little. She was only two," said April Hall, October's paternal grandmother.
David Hyslop, the sole caregiver at the time October sustained fatal injuries, was charged with deliberate homicide and sentenced to 100 years in prison without parole.
Hyslop told investigators he had no idea about October's death, but then later admitted to "dropping" October.
"No matter what a two year old ever does, no matter how angry you get, there is no excuse to beating a 2-year-old to death," stated Christina Hall, October's aunt.
Hyslop's brother later testified to police that he once heard three solid hits from the downstairs area. That series of noise was followed by October making a gurgling sound. Hyslop told him "I hit her, but I will take care of it."
"We knew he was being abusive because of what momma told us," shared April.
April continuously noticed numerous marks on the young girl, but says she wasn't able to get anyone to pay attention. That is, except October's father, who was serving in Afghanistan at the time of his daughter's death.
Michael Arndt confronted October's mother Kristy after seeing pictures of the girl that showed bruises. This was also after hearing that the girl was missing hair, and even teeth.
"I asked her what was the deal with her teeth and hair missing? She told me 'oh, everything is fine. She's alright. She's okay. And there were no problems there.' So, I said 'missing teeth? missing hair? It doesn't add up.' It was like talking to a wall basically. There was no effort what so ever to do anything," shared Arndt.
"This is why Family Services and I had a showdown. They called and told me I had 20 minutes to return her to her mother because that wasn't enough evidence to take her out the house," said April.
April also says these conditions should have alerted authorities that something wasn't right. She says the Montana Child and Family Services Division (CFSD) even visited the home, but found no reason to take any action.
We asked the Division to comment. Officials gave us this statement: "State law prohibits the Department of Public Health & Human Services from commenting on specific child protection cases."
"Family services was working there all that time, when the teeth and hair started to go missing, and they did nothing," said April.
CFSD also added: "The safety of Montana's kids is everyone's responsibility."
April says they didn't do enough to ensure that safety.
"I fought so hard to get her out of there. Between calling Family Services and the Police. In fact, they (police) did a check two weeks before she died. They saw teeth were missing, but they did nothing," mentioned April.
Doing nothing was the same thing, April says, the mother did -- besides calling police when it was too late, and when murder was proclaimed in October's living space.
"...and I know the mother (is saying) in the end, 'well I didn't turn it in because I was afraid they would take my kids away again;' so, you let him kill her?" said April.
Three years later, the family is still mourning.
"I always think of all the things I've missed out on since she died; like her first day of school would've been this year," shared Christina.
"I'd like to tell her that daddy loves her, and I wish I could've been there to save her. I'm sorry this had to happen to her. No two year old deserves this - no little girl deserves this," stated Arndt.
"I'm just so sorry it happened. I feel like I failed her. I really do," said April.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Saturday, January 28, 2017, 4:06 AM
It took city officials five months to confirm what neighbors suspected immediately: 3-year-old Caleb Rivera was a murder victim.
“I had an idea,” said Nikki Whatley, 39, who performed CPR on the gaunt little boy outside their East Harlem apartment building last August.
“I still see that boy’s eyes in my nightmare and in my dreams,” said Whatley, the mother of four. “That boy was lifeless when I got to him.”
Caleb’s death was declared a homicide Friday after the city medical examiner determined he was killed by multiple blows to the head and neck.
The boy’s mother, who was in their apartment with two men when Caleb was mortally injured, insisted she had no idea who was to blame for her son’s killing.
“I am not talking to anybody about anything,” mom Alexandra Guzman said from behind the door of her apartment on Friday. “I am not giving up anything. Why are you harassing me?”
Asked specifically who killed little Caleb Rivera, the mother answered, “Nobody. It was — have a good day. Nobody. That is the only answer you’ll get from me.”
Construction worker Adrian Rivera, 24, the child’s father, said he’s suspected for months that Guzman was hiding something.
“He was a happy healthy baby and I loved my baby,” he said. “They should both go to jail. I want to know: Did he do this and then she covered up? If the police won’t do something, I will.”
Rivera said after he and Guzman broke up, she barred him from seeing Caleb. He said he begged her to bring the baby to his mother’s house. “She wouldn’t. I texted her the week before (Caleb died): ‘Please bring me my baby.’ She said she was good where she was. She wouldn’t bring him to me, and then this happened.”
April, Child Abuse Awareness month, has passed. It went by without any comment from the Director of Social Services, Ted Myers (“…blood is thicker than water…”, or attorney Andrew Wolf, (“…we do the legally correct thing…”).
interviews with Santa Barbara’s KEYT-TV a few of years ago on the question
raised by a Ventura County Star editorial regarding the whereabouts of Mario,
these gentlemen, in making the above statements, attempted to explain why Social Service workers,
and an a child advocate attorney advocate and/or permit the re-unification of
an abused child with its abuser(s). Mario was a toddler beaten into a coma by his mother. Social workers reunified Mario with his mother even though he continued to be abused.
We have heard, and continue to hear, numerous times that Social Services’ purpose is to protect children from abuse. The child’s advocate in Court is supposed to also protect their right to freedom from abuse. Neither succeeds.
And the reason they do not is revealed by their statements. Their hands are tied. Mr. Wolf is correct, re-unification is the legally correct thing to do, never mind that questions of ethics and morality are raised by the re-unification of a person who lacks love and parenting skills with a child who is helpless to speak for or defend himself.
And, yes, though it is a convenient and telling euphemism, blood is thicker than water. It merely goes to prove the point that a tiny human feels a craving for and needs love from the only caregiver it has known from birth. Though the child bonds, the adult may not want to or cannot commit to a responsibility.
Congress, in its infinite wisdom, saw the tragedies brought about by the abuse of children. They saw not only the physical and emotional effects, but also acknowledged that deaths of children were sometimes the outcome of such conduct. They further saw the financial toll upon society, not only for the treatment of the physical and emotional injuries, but upon the fact that some of these children become a financial burden rather than positive contributors to society. As Congress does best they began the battle against child abuse by passing laws, in this case, Title 42 of the United States Code, Chapter 67, Section 5106a.
This released money to fund Social Services and created responsibilities to fund programs. It created a confidentiality clause to protect not only the child’s identity and reputation but also that of the abuser. It required every State to pass a law saying that re-unification of the abused with its abuser was not required. But it also stated that despite a parent or caregiver having killed or assaulted a child the State (read as Judge), could, on a case by case basis, reunify a child of the sibling with the killer or abuser. Congress sat back; it had passed a law to protect children.
words, blood is thicker than water and re-unification is the legally correct
thing to do, regardless of what further injuries the
child will suffer.
I recently attended a meeting where I listened to
gut-wrenching stories from adults who feared for the safety of their children
who were reporting sexual crimes against them by family members. As the founder of The Children’s Wall of
Tears™, these stories are not new to me as I hear hundreds of cases each year.
Recently Leo and I visited the great city of Oklahoma and toured the Oklahoma Bombing Memorial. Without a doubt, this memorial strengthened our faith in the American people, our patriotism and our feelings against terrorism. We could not help but walk away from this great monument with a passion that undoubtedly carved our futures. Throughout our tour of the memorial we could not help but think about the 168 lives lost in this horrific event. There was one particular photo on the wall of the daycare center showing children that were signed-in that fateful day. It haunts us. What madman would callously murder innocent children, let alone adults?
We read every sign and studied every photo in the museum. We were overwhelmed with sadness and rage at the very same time. We began to systematically think about terrorism and what it really means and how it affects our lives.
the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terroization.
a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.
Terrorism begins with creating a fear within the victim and escalates quickly to injury and in many cases death. Until September 11, 2001, few Americans were aware that terror existed beyond that seen on movies or on TV. After 911, we became aware of our vulnerability to suffering at the hands of people who find it acceptable to inflict pain on innocent people without blinking an eye. The bombing in Oklahoma City traumatized this great nation. We were forced to face the anxiety of knowing that at any time, in any place, violence can strike, and in that respect, we are now victims of terrorism.
While we feel a deep sadness for the victims of the attacks in New York City and Washington D.C., the plane crash in Pennsylvania and their families and the Oklahoma City Bombing and their families, who have lived to suffer the devastating pain of the loss of a loved one, we began to think about the children here in the United States who live under this anxiety every day. How did we overlook their terrorism? Most call it child abuse. We call it child cruelty.
In child’s world, violence comes not at the hands of politically motivated extremists, but from their parents or caregivers. Suffering comes not from weapons of mass destruction, but fists, belts, scalding water, locked in dark closets, and cruel words. Attacks are not a rare occurrence, but a daily reality. Knowing that it is coming is the epitome of terrorism especially since a child is incapable of defending himself and does not know where to turn to avoid the torture and pain of neglect or abuse.
We kept thinking about the fact that while we watched news coverage of buildings crumbling and thousands of terrified, innocent people running for their lives, young spirits are being crushed at the hands of heartless adults with no high-profile media coverage to spark a country to awareness and action. Yes, we occasionally see, hear and read of young victims being abused or killed, but, few people are moved to act. The usual response to such news is an “…Oh, no!...” statement, and then on to breaking news.
While troops of rescue workers sift through debris in a desperate attempt to recover victims, young children are cowering in corners after yet another merciless beating, wondering if anyone cares enough to rescue them. While an entire nation mourns for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and the Oklahoma City Bombing, abused children continue to suffer horrifically with no tears of sadness shed on their behalf. Is it apathy on the part of the general public? Apparently so. we don’t see any great rush of humanity at the breaking story of another child being beaten or killed. Nor do we see more than platitudes from public officials or legislators. Yes, you will hear comments that such and such should be investigated. You hear that so and so is understaffed, overworked, and over whelmed but you do not hear from the front line workers who deal with child abuse on a daily basis.
For the past 25 years, we have been working to increase America’s awareness to the horrors of child cruelty and to bring the reality of the unimaginable level of physical and mental suffering these children deal with to the forefront.
We have written numerous commentaries and letters to the editors of newspapers and given speeches and talks to various groups and organizations. We have spoken in Washington, D.C. before a distinguished group of professionals and even sponsored a law in the California Legislature to provide computerized criminal history to child protective service workers so that they do not reunify the child with criminals. Unfortunately, that law failed in the appropriations department. Apparently $50,000 for the entire State of California is not worth protecting children. We have spent anguished hours over the opposition we have received and welcomed the pats on the back. But, child cruelty continues and children continue to live the daily terror awaiting the next blow.
Statistics show that everyday, scores of children are terrorized by abusive parents and that list continues to grow each year. Every 10 seconds a child is abused. Every 5 hours a child is killed. In cold, hard terms that means that every day a small hand is held over a flame, an infant is dipped in scalding water, a child is forced to swallow household cleansers, an empty stomach grumbles while parents eat, a terrified toddler trembles in a dark, locked closet, a tiny arm is broken, a life comes to a premature end. The scenes of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were difficult to look at, but, they can’t compare to the scenes that flash in front of the small eyes of an abused child.
I leave it to you to decide if a child, under these circumstances, is experiencing not only terror but wondering when it all will end.
The unified resolve shown by the American people following the recent terrorist attacks is impressively powerful and elicits confidence that swift, sure action will be taken to punish and prevent terrorist acts. If only that same level of mass resolve were focused on saving abused children. If only our country stood unified in the defense of these helpless children, how many young victims of daily terrorism could be saved? How many small spirits could be recovered? How many terrorists could be stopped?
We wonder what horrendous atrocity must occur to a child before every American resolves to put an end to child cruelty in every home in which it occurs.We have stated before, in print and speeches, that there is a pandemic of child cruelty throughout the world. Now, with the advent of the bird flu, mad cow disease, tainted spinach, Aids and other “epidemics”, the word pandemic has become as familiar to us as the word terrorism and, unfortunately, we must now state that a pandemic of child cruelty now exists on this Planet.
Simply put in perspective, if a
disease were killing hundreds of children in America each year, the Center for Disease
Control would mobilize everything it could to find the cause. Federal and State governments would spend
millions on treatment and trying to find a cure. No stone would be left un-turned and no sum of
money would be too great in an effort to end the pandemic. Over 3,000 children are kiled through abuse and neglect each year. Is that not an epidemic in your eyes?
Yes, our lives were forever changed by our visit to the Oklahoma Bombing Memorial
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Body of Missing 5-Year-Old Boy Found Near Lake Cachuma as His Father Is Accused of His Murder
The body of a missing 5-year-old California boy last seen in late April has been found near a Santa Barbara County lake, homicide detectives confirmed to PEOPLE Saturday.
Aramazd Andressian Jr. was found near Lake Cachuma on Friday, after additional leads brought homicide detectives back to the area searching for additional evidence.
The discovery came hours after the boy’s father, Aramazd Andressian Sr., was extradited to Los Angeles where he has been charged with the 5-year-old’s murder. The 35-year-old man was detained on June 23 in Las Vegas in connection with his son’s death, and is being held on $10 million bail on a single murder count.
The boy was last seen on April 20, when he and his father visited Disneyland in Anaheim, California. They left the theme park around midnight.
Within a week of the boy’s disappearance, police arrested his dad on suspicion of one count of child endangerment and one count of child abduction. But they released him days later , citing “insufficient evidence.” It was not immediately clear what prompted his re-arrest.
Officials confirm that Andressian, Sr. and his wife, Ana Estevez, are embroiled in a bitter divorce, but they shared custody of their son.
Andressian, Jr. was supposed to be dropped off by his father in San Marino, California, on April 22 — but the elder Andressian failed to show. Instead, he was found passed out near his car in a nearby park. Police have alleged that the inside of his car was doused with gasoline and there were matches in his vehicle.
Andressian, Sr. told investigators he believed he was attacked, but he had no memory of the assault. He also told police he had taken some prescription medication that morning before falling unconscious, CNN reported .
“There has been a great deal of speculation regarding the timeline around his disappearance,” Andressian, Sr. wrote in a statement issued nearly a week after his son vanished. “The last time I saw my son was on Saturday morning, the 22nd, at Arroyo Park near my home in South Pasadena. After breakfast Aramazd Jr. wanted to go to the park before we were to meet his mother for a custody exchange at 9:00 a.m.”
“In one moment, I was at the park with my son, and then I found myself waking up in Huntington Memorial Hospital hours later,” he continued. “I was told that a good Samaritan found me unconscious on the ground near my car, with young Aramazd nowhere in sight. I can only speculate that I must have been attacked in the park, given my unresponsive state and subsequent physical condition.”
“My family and I are heartbroken and grief-stricken that Aramazd Jr. is missing and may be in harm’s way,” he continued. “I am pleading with the public to come forward with any knowledge of Aramazd Jr.’s whereabouts or information regarding the circumstances leading up to his disappearance.”
Estevez has also spoken publicly , pleading for the public’s help at a May news conference with law enforcement.
“There are no words to describe how devastated and heartbroken I am,” Estevez said through tears, before speaking directly to her son. “This message is for you my love: Be brave, honey. Don’t ever forget that mama loves you to the moon and the stars. I am counting the days until I see you honey, and I will never stop looking for you.”
“To those who are concealing my son, I pray every day that God will touch your heart and guide you to do the right thing and return my son,” she said.
Anyone with any information about this ongoing case can call the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department at 323-890-5500 or police in South Pasadena, California, at 626-403-7297.