A man has been charged with murder in the beating death of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.
Jose Cruz appeared in court Friday morning, keeping his head down and refusing to comment as he walked to court.
According to court documents, Cruz told officers that 3-year-old Carmen Ellis soiled her pants Tuesday night, smearing urine and feces all over the apartment. He said the girl kept saying, “papa, I hate you.”
Cruz told police that made him angry. Then, officers said, Cruz beat Carmen with a belt, shook her, and hit her over and over again in the face and the side of her head.
“I just heard a loud thump like something hit the wall,” Debbie Whitney said. Whitney was visiting her daughter at the 3700 block of Long Wharf Drive Tuesday night when it happened.
According to court documents, Carmen’s eyes rolled to the back of her head. She threw up, and started having seizures. Cruz said he “blanked out” and “lost it”. Cruz told officers he thought what he did caused the girl’s injuries, court documents said.
The coroner determined that Carmen died from blunt force trauma and ruled Carmen’s death a homicide.
“Oh my gosh…I am so sorry. I feel so bad,” Katrina Parksey told Fox59. Parksey said she’s shocked about what happened. Parksey lived with the family inside a home in the 6000 block of East 25th Street for a few months.
“Every time I would fall asleep, the next day I would wake up and she would have different marks all over her body, but I would never see someone abuse that little girl,” Parksey said.
She and her sister wish they could’ve done more. “I was bawling and he said a ghost had done it,” said Parksey’s sister Chasity.
No one was arrested in that case. Child Protective Services was called.
Meanwhile, court documents revealed that on Tuesday night, Carmen’s mother, Samantha Ellis, was inside the apartment.
Ellis told detectives that she knew her baby had bruises, but claimed Cruz would offer up excuses when she asked about the injuries. She also said Cruz told her not to take Carmen to the hospital because she would heal by herself. Ellis said she was afraid Cruz would take it out on her if she disobeyed.
Man charged in girl's death claims inmates have ordered "hit" on him