Dr. Espinola says 23-month-old baby suffered an extremely painful death.
Guam – Grisly details in the murder trial of John Castro who’s accused of killing his girlfriend’s barely 2-year-old child. Little Alzanna suffered an intensely painful death, according to Medical Examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola.
“In my opinion that was an abused child,” Espinola said on the witness stand.
Fresh and old bruises, old fractures, contusions and lacerations to internal organs, Medical Examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola says 23-month-old Alzanna Lotino was a physically abused child for a long time. And her death an extremely painful one. One of her more recent injuries, he says, was a laceration to the liver that happened just hours before she died.
“The bleeding [in the liver] was not much but the pain will be intense,” describes Dr. Espinola.
But what caused Alzanna to succumb was a ruptured small intestine. John Castro, the boyfriend of Alzanna’s mother, Suzanna Lotino, is charged with murder, assault and child abuse. Police believe he punched Alzanna in the stomach which in turn ruptured her small intestine. Castro claims he has no idea how Alzanna died, but says he may have rolled over her in his sleep the night before.
But Dr. Espinola says rolling over a baby would not cause a rupture to the small intestine. He says rolling over a baby would not produce “local” force, rather it would produce a blunt force.”
Dr. Espinola explains that the contents of the small intestine would have leaked out slowly and because those contents contain loads of bacteria, it would have caused peritonitis or an septic infection.
“When the rupture occurs the baby will experience the pain already [and after] the pain will stay and later on the pain will be generalized in the abdomen,” Dr. Espinola explains.
Dr. Espinola says he concluded manner of death to be a homicide because the baby had old and new wounds and the story about rolling over the child is not a plausible one. However, under cross examination, defense attorney Suresh Sampath points out that the injury could have been caused by anyone. And he suggests that it may have even been the baby’s mother since she claims to have moved Alzanna from the mattress to the crib around 4 in the morning.
“And the injury to the liver was a painful injury?” Sampath asked. “The kind of injury that you wouldn’t expect a child sleeping through that kind of injury?”
“That’s right,” Espinola agreed.
Trial continues next Monday in Judge James Canto’s courtroom.