Toddler Allegedly Tortured And Murdered By Own Parents

Jamari Mendez
GoFundMe | GoFundMe/Leslie Mendez

News & Politics

Barstow, California was shaken to its core after the authorities revealed that a man and a woman are being charged with torturing and murdering their 1-year-old son, Jamari Mendez.

Twenty-seven-year-old Ricardo Mendez and his wife, 24-year-old Antanita Miller, were arrested on Tuesday and charged with torture, assault of a child and murder.

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The day before their arrests, Ricardo and Antanita showed up at a family home in Pomona, as reported by People.

Jamari was not with them, but they brought their two other children, according to Ricardo's sister Leslie Mendez.

"They both walked inside like nothing happened," Mendez explained, saying that Ricardo and Antanita claimed Jamari was with Antanita's mother.

Eventually, Ricardo confessed to his family that Jamari was dead and that his body was in the back of their car, according to Mendez.

Family Tries To Save Jamari

Ricardo Mendez arrested
youtube | Fox 11 Los Angeles

Mendez said she and other family members who were present when Ricardo confessed hurried to retrieve Jamari from the vehicle.

"Everybody runs and he was covered in blankets. That's when my two other brothers helped my sister-in-law take the baby out," Mendez explained, saying that Jamari's lifeless body was rushed to a nearby hospital.

But it was too late: the boy was pronounced dead as soon as they arrived to the hospital, despite doctors' best efforts to revive him.

Authorities were then called to investigate Jamari's suspicious death.

Jamari Was Tortured, Police Say

According to Barstow Police Department detectives, Jamari's body was covered in "lesions, bruising, and burn marks" and some of the boy's injuries were in different stages of the healing process.

Jamari's injuries, the police said, seemed to be consistent with ongoing abuse.

Additionally, while investigating Ricardo and Antanita's home and vehicles, investigators found evidence of items used to torture the boy, including a torch lighter.

The toddler is believed to have been at his home in Barstow prior to his arrival in Pomona.

'Everybody Is Devastated'

Antanita Miller
youtube | Fox 11 Los Angeles

Leslie Mendez said "everybody is devastated" over what happened.

"We didn't expect our own blood to do this to his own son. They both walked inside like nothing happened," she said.

Mendez has launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover Jamari's funeral costs, where she wrote that Jamari is "a victim of child abuse from both of his parents Ricardo Mendez and Antanita Miller."

"It’s unfortunate that we had to lose him at such a young age. We are all extremely devastated. My family and I are trying to raise money for all the funeral expenses that are needed," Mendez noted.