Homicide by Child Abuse

Baby Left in the Trash

Seth Stokes
July 18, 2017 - 4:00 pm
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On July 12, officers responded to La Parilla, located at 1 Market Point Drive, in regards to a newborn in cardiac arrest. Upon arrival, the baby’s mother and grandmother, the mother’s boyfriend and at least two employees advised that the mother had just given birth in the bathroom.

Greenville County EMS arrived on the scene, advised that the baby had a heartbeat and rushed him to the hospital, where he was pronounced deceased a short time later. Greenville Police detectives and Greenville County Forensic personnel responded to the scene to begin the death investigation.

The medical examiner performed an autopsy on July 13 and could find no medical reason why the child died after birth. The medical examiner also noted that dirt and gravel were found on the baby’s body, and relayed this information to the coroner.

When Deputy Coroners Dill and Edmonds returned to the restaurant for further investigation, other employees told them a different version of events than the original one provided the day of the incident. The manager informed them that Estela Ruiz-Gomez, the baby’s mother, busses tables at the restaurant and Lorenza Gomez Rodriguez, the baby’s grandmother, is a dishwasher.

According to the employees, Estela went to the bathroom during her break because her stomach was hurting. When the manager went to get Estela out of the bathroom at the end of her break, she stated that her stomach still hurt and the manager went to get Lorenza to check on her. A short time later, Lorenza exited the bathroom and explained that Estela needed to go to the hospital.

Shortly after they came out of the bathroom, a female employee emptied the trash in the men’s and women’s restrooms. Because she was having difficulty lifting the trash bag, she dragged the bag across the parking lot, causing it to tear, and a newborn baby fell out of the bag onto the pavement.

Estela’s boyfriend (the baby’s father), who was present when the baby fell out of the trash bag, retrieved the baby from the ground and took him back inside the restaurant. It was at this point that EMS was called to the scene. Because of this new information, Estela and Lorenza were arrested for child neglect.

On July 17, detectives met with the medical examiner, who indicated that the baby’s death would be ruled a homicide because he would have likely survived had he not been placed in the trash. On July 18, detectives charged Estela with homicide by child neglect and Lorenza with aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse. They later found that Homeland Security has an active warrant against Estela for not leaving the country when ordered to do so in 2016. Homeland Security is investigating both individuals due to their immigration status.

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