42ºF

Without family nearby, an abused toddler died in the hospital Sunday with Harris County sheriff’s deputies standing vigil

The child’s mother was located in Honduras

HOUSTON – A 2-year-old boy died in a hospital Sunday after being abused. He was without any relatives or loved ones when he was taken off life support at Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. But the boy wasn’t alone.

Investigators from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office stepped in to make sure Kevin wasn’t alone in his final hours. HCSO Captain J.D. Philpots said investigators working on the case first learned there was no family around Thursday, when the little boy was hospitalized.

“The investigator paused for a second and I could almost hear her voice cracking, and she says, ‘Captain, there’s nobody here with him,'” said Philpots. “And I says, ‘What do you mean there’s nobody there with him? He has to have other family members.' She said ‘no, the only people here are just the few investigators and then obviously the hospital staff.’”

Kevin was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Thursday after investigators say he arrived at the hospital with horrific injuries. Officials say Kevin’s uncle, Melvin Morales-Gomez abused him.

“There was multiple bruising about the child’s torso, multiple bite marks,” said Philpot. “There was brain injuries.”

Kevin arrived in the U.S. about 7 months ago. He made the journey from Honduras to Houston with Morales-Gomez and another child.

With no family in the U.S., investigators took turns sitting in the ICU with Kevin.

“There were obviously prayers that were said at his bedside by various investigators,” said Philpot.

After Kevin was hospitalized and his uncle was arrested, three other children were removed from the northwest Houston apartment where Kevin had been living with Morales-Gomez, who was his primary caretaker.

An 8-year-old boy, a 3-year-old boy and a 9-month-old girl were removed from the apartment by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services or TDFP. The three children remain in foster care. A spokeswoman for TDFP confirmed to KPRC 2 that investigators had been called to the home before Kevin’s death, however, she would not say for which child.

Officials say Kevin’s body also showed signs of long-term abuse.

“I would just hope that the community would also be heartbroken because of this,” said Philpots. “Children are our most defenseless victims in our society, and for any adult to treat Kevin in the method and the manner that (the suspect) did is just horrific. It’s heartbreaking for all of us.”

The Honduran Consulate in Houston confirmed Tuesday that Kevin’s mother has been located in Honduras. Although the consulate initially struggled to make contact with her, she has now made contact with the Honduran government and has started the legal process to claim Kevin’s body. The consulate says once Kevin’s body is released to the Honduran government, it will be repatriated to Honduras. The Honduran government will pay for the body’s transport.