WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Police Department tells KSN News a couple could face more charges in the death of 2-year-old Jacob Aviles.
Bernardo Gonzalez-Mejia, 31, was arrested and is facing suspicion of felony murder and child abuse, and Stephanie Aviles, 24, was arrested and is facing suspicion of felony murder and aggravated child endangerment. The two still haven’t been officially charged.
An autopsy completed on Jacob by the Regional Forensic Science Center led to the amended charges.
On Sunday, Wichita police responded to a home in the 1100 block of West Munnell.
Police, firefighters and EMS arrived and found Jacob Aviles not breathing. He was pronounced dead.
“Mom called 911. She was not home at the time. The boyfriend had contacted her in regards to the child not breathing. She eventually called 911 which led to the response at the residence,” said Capt. Brent Allred, Wichita Police Department.
Police said the Jacob Aviles was found to have extensive bruising on his body.
“At the time, the 2-year-old was the only in the house with the boyfriend,” said Capt. Allred.
Two other children, a 6-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl, were placed in protective police custody.
It is the third child death case Wichita police have investigated this year.
Police told KSN that the Department of Children and Families investigated a case in 2015, but it wasn’t for abuse. They also had one police report.
“There was a limited history with law enforcement or DCF involving the family,” said Capt. Allred.
KSN News reached out to DCF to see if there has been a current, active case involving the child that died.
A DCF spokesperson said they would not comment, citing privacy issues.
Some say the child’s death points to the need to get more resources into the DCF system.
“Whenever you see a tragic death like this, and we’re seeing too many, you ask that question,” said Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita. “What could we have done as a community to help that family before it reached this level? “
Ward says there has been a committee to look at DCF in Topeka, but the committee was not funded for the next year. Ward says a committee to offer oversight of DCF could help with accountability, but it could also work to move more resources to the agency.
“There is no special committee. Right now, we have committees that take up issues with DCF, but there is not a committee dedicated to making sure that change is happening,” said Ward.
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