2 held for trial in Pa. tot's starvation death

AP News
Posted: Jan 09, 2014 1:14 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A judge has ordered a Philadelphia man and woman to stand trial in the starvation of their disabled toddler, saying the girl looked like a victim of a Nazi concentration camp when she died.

Carlos Rivera, 30, is charged with first-degree murder and Carmen Ramirez, 27, is charged with third-degree murder in the death of 3-year-old Nathalyz Rivera, who weighed just over 11 pounds when she died in September.

Municipal Court Judge James DeLeon said at a preliminary hearing Wednesday that the girl looked "like an Auschwitz child." He ordered her parents held for trial on all counts after hearing testimony from doctors, homicide detectives and a city social worker.

Officials said Nathalyz was born blind and unable to talk or walk. Associate Medical Examiner Andrew Rosen, who ruled the death homicide by starvation, said her lack of nutrition and medical care was "glaring."

"You can almost count every rib individually," Rosen testified.

Defense attorneys unsuccessfully sought a reduction or dismissal of the charges.

Ramirez cried as a detective read a statement to police in which investigators said she told them that she and her new boyfriend had been at a casino for hours when Rivera called her around midnight.

"He told me, 'Nathalyz is not breathing,' and 'What do you want me to do?'" she said, according to the statement read in court. "I said, 'Take her to the hospital.' He told me he did not want to because the police would lock him up on the spot."

Rivera kept his head in his hands as a statement was read in which police said he told investigators that he never fed the children breakfast or lunch and usually left Nathalyz and her siblings alone in the house while he sought casual work.