NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — The 4-year-old daughter of a New Britain couple charged with manslaughter in connection to her death suffered a brain injury, had to be placed on a ventilator and had scabbed over bruises all over her body, court documents reveal.
Rocky Hernandez-DeJesus, 31, and his wife 28-year-old Ashley Hernandez-DeJesus are accused of manslaughter charges in the death of their 4-year-old daughter. They appeared before a judge on Wednesday.
“There’s no proof of anything,” Rocky Hernandez-DeJesus said while leaving New Britain Superior Court.
The charges date back to June 17, when the couple took the young girl to Bristol Hospital saying she had suffered a fall from the pavilion at Plainville’s Norton Park.
The child was later taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center where emergency room physicians noticed injuries consistent with abuse, according to court documents released Wednesday.
Doctors said the young child suffered a brain injury in which her brain had been deprived of oxygen. She was placed on a ventilator and doctors warned police she would not make it. The 4-year-old also had scabbed-over bruises on her ankles consistent with being restrained with, “ligature marks, which were scabbed over,” according to court documents.
Bruises were also found on her back, butt, chest, stomach, legs, and arms. When she arrived at Bristol Hospital, “there was also some blood in her mouth,” the court documents say.
According to court documents, the child’s mother told police her daughter was “clumsy” and “falls a lot.”
Police interviewed camp officials who were also sharing the playground that day at Norton Park. No one reported to have seen a child fall and the medical examiner believes the soft mulch would have prevented a fatal injury.
Doctors also said that it seemed “impossible” for a child to sustain such injuries from a fall at the park.
The Department of Children and Families released a statement Wednesday in which it said that prior to the 2022 death of the child, the department did not receive any reports specific to the child, but did receive reports of the siblings of the child.
The last report received regarding the family was in February 2017, when the children and home were determined unsafe. The child's siblings were subsequently placed in a home with a relative. Once the little girl was born after the February allegations, she was also placed with relatives, said DCF in a statement.
The siblings remained with relatives as part of a permanency plan agreed upon by the court, department, and private agencies, while the child was reunified in 2019. The case was closed in 2019, which was the department's last contact with the family.
DFC said in a statement that they became involved again in June 2022 after a report was received of the child's fatal injuries. The department began a joint investigation with the Bristol Police Department to ensure the safety of the child's siblings.
Ashley Hernandez-DeJesus was charged with manslaughter 1st degree, unlawful restraint 1st degree, intentional cruelty to persons, risk of injury to a minor, and conspiracy to commit risk of injury to a minor.
Rocky Hernandez-DeJesus was charged with manslaughter 1st degree, unlawful restraint 1st degree, intentional cruelty to persons, risk of injury to a minor, conspiracy to commit risk of injury to a minor, and false statement.
The couple's next court date is Jan. 12.
Samaia Hernandez is a reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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