MIDVALE — A 4-month-old boy found dead in a Midvale motel room had multiple bruises on his body and was extremely thin when he was found, according to police.
The infant's parents, Jose Alejandro Ramirez, 21, of Kearns, and Jessica Marie Lujan, 20, of Salt Lake City, were both arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of child abuse homicide.
On Friday, Unified police were notified of a child not breathing in a room at Motel 6, 7263 S. Catalpa Street (440 West). Officers were already at the motel investigating a separate case and ran to the child's room.
"Officers on scene observed the deceased child and noticed the child had several bruises in varying stages of healing," according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.
Bruises were found on the boy's face, including his nose, forehead, cheek and behind his ear, the report states. Investigators also noticed a possible cut near his neck, according to the report. Police also discovered the boy, whom they noted in the report was so thin that "the child's bone structure is visible on the outside of his person," had a pre-existing illness "and is required to have oxygen," which was in the room, according to the report.
The boy's parents and his grandfather were also in the room, the report states. Also in the room, police found Lujan's 1-year-old daughter. The girl was placed in state protective custody.
When interviewed by police, Lujan told detectives that she hit the infant "because she had a fight with the father … and because the child was screaming and she became angry. She admitted to striking him several times and scratching him with her fingernails," the report states.
Lujan then placed the boy in his car seat, upside down, and went to bed, according to the report.
Ramirez also told police "that he both heard and witnessed the infant's mother … throw the infant into the car seat upside down," the report states.
Ramirez said he then took care of the child after Lujan went to sleep. But even though he noticed something was wrong with the boy, he never called for help, according to the report.
"Jose Ramirez stated that during the time he was caring for the child he did not call 911 despite having several options for doing so to get help for the now-unresponsive child," the report states. "Jose Ramirez stated that the next day in the afternoon he was awakened and made aware that the child was unresponsive but stated that he did not call 911, instead he began CPR."
Eventually, Lujan called 911, but did not talk to the emergency dispatcher, putting the phone down after the call connected, according to the jail report.2 comments on this story
Relatives of Lujan havelaunched a fundraiser to raise money so they can come to Utah to take custody of her daughter, Anniah.
"We have set up this GoFundMe to assist with the costs associated with filing for custody of this beautiful little girl," stated Leslie Greer, Lujan's cousin.
In a statement to the Deseret News, Lana Greer, Leslie's wife, said, "We are trying to step up and make sure her surviving child, Anniah, is loved and cared for. The abuse and death of baby JR has rocked our whole family. We need help making this happen."