Raped and Tortured Toddler Screamed in Agony, NJ Prosecutor Reveals
TRENTON — A city man accused of suffocating and raping his girlfriend's toddler daughter will remain jailed pending his murder trial.
A judge made the ruling Thursday during a court hearing for Maison Andres Torres.
During the hearing, an assistant prosecutor calmly recited the nightmarish final moments of 2-year-old Lia Victoria Merino-Rodriguez at the hands of her mother's boyfriend. The details had been provided by Torres to investigators, prosecutors said.
Mercer County prosecutors say Torres had moved into his girlfriend's Trenton home two weeks after they met and killed the toddler a month later. They say Torres burned the child with hot water, punched her and suffocated her by covering her mouth with his hand after he had been left to babysit her.
Authorities have said Torres initially claimed the toddler had fallen down the stairs while playing with her baby carriage.
The 25-year-old Torres is charged with murder, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and two counts of child endangerment. His public defender declined comment on the charges.
During the hearing on Thursday, the assistant prosecutor said Torres admitted during a taped interview that he woke up that morning feeling angry and that he put the toddler in the bathtub and poured several buckets of hot water over her.
As the scalded child screamed, he poured more buckets of hot water over her, the prosecutor said.
Torres said he then took the girl into the bedroom and began punching her body and face, the prosecutor said.
When the little girl fought back, he suffocated her with his hands, the prosecutor said.
Torres was initially charged with murder but rape charges were later added when an autopsy revealed injuries to her genitals.
The child's mother, who moved to the United States from Honduras less than a year ago, told Spanish television station Telemundo 62 that she never suspected Torres would harm her child because he always behaved well in front of her.
"May he rot in prison," she said. "Death will not be enough for him for all that he did to my girl."
Torres' mother, who spoke from Tennessee to a Telemundo 62 reporter, asked for "forgiveness for my son ... if he did it, I ask the Lord to forgive him."