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WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 22, 2011, 06:31 PM

Mendoza charged with first degree manslaughter in infant death

Pelican Rapids, MN (WDAY TV) - New developments tonight in that tragic story out of Pelican Rapids. 31 year-old Pedro Mendoza faces first degree manslaughter charges in connection with the senseless, brutal death of a 5 month old baby boy.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

New developments tonight in that tragic story out of Pelican Rapids. 31 year-old Pedro Mendoza faces first degree manslaughter charges in connection with the senseless, brutal death of a 5 month old baby boy.

There is so much tonight we do not know about suspect Mendoza. We do know he is an illegal, from South America, who worked at the turkey plant in Pelican Rapids. Authorities believe Mendoza was caring for the baby while the baby's mother stepped out.

In his 5 short months of life, baby Mario endured what appears to be a horrific pattern of abuse. According to these court documents, once Pedro Mendoza was arrested in Mario's death, x-rays and scans revealed ugly, sad medical evidence. Skull fractures, brain and eye bleeds from alleged beatings and shakings.

Michelle Eldien – Otter Tail County Assistant County Attorney: “It is just sad that and if you have worked these cases there almost all of these babies have prior injuries and this baby had old fractures and the baby was suffering as well.”

The mother of the baby told authorities she thought her baby was completely healthy, unaware someone had been abusing him most of his short life. Dr. Arne Graff is well known child abuse pediatric specialist.

Dr. Arne Graff – Sanfor Child Abuse Specialist: “Anytime we see these injuries our role is not to point fingers but to see if there is a medical or genetic or some reason this happened or accidental and pool this info and let law enforcement go from there. “

Meanwhile, WDAY 6 News has learned federal agents with the INS have a hold on Mendoza, he entered the US I illegally from Guatemala and worked at the turkey plant using an alias. The mother of baby has little money, and is not sure herself if she can pay for a funeral and burial for her boy.

Mendoza needed an interpreter in court today. He cannot speak or read English, and despite being from Guatemala he cannot read Spanish either.

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