BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — Parents from New Britain are facing a slew of charges, including manslaughter, in connection to the death of their 4-year-old daughter, according to Bristol police.
Ashley Hernandez-DeJesus, 28, and 31-year-old Rocky Hernandez-DeJesus have been charged with first-degree manslaughter, first-degree unlawful restraint, intentional cruelty to persons, risk of injury to a minor, and conspiracy to commit risk of injury to a minor. Rocky Hernandez-DeJesus is facing an additional charge of making a false statement to the police.
Police said the two were charged after a Bristol police investigation into the June death of a 4-year-old girl. Police said they are not disclosing the girl’s identity at this time.
The couple appeared in court on Wednesday for their arraignment. Following court, Rocky told reporters that the girl is their daughter, Veronica.
“Not guilty,” said Rocky Hernandez-DeJesus. “Yes, she’s our daughter. I was advised to not talk from my attorney.”
Court documents reveal the girl died from a severe brain injury back in June. Police say the couple told police multiple stories including that she fell at the playground and fell down the stairs, but doctors say neither matched her injuries.
Court documents reveal the story the couple told police doesn’t hold up. The couple brought the girl to Connecticut Children’s where the doctor determined she was suffering from an anoxic brain injury causing oxygen deprivation. According to documents, the girl had injuries in various stages of healing not consistent with a fall, including wrist and ankle binding marks.
The doctor also noted her injuries were more consistent with abuse, having bruises covering her entire body, and was extremely thin. After failing brain death tests, the child was taken off a ventilator and pronounced dead on June 18.
“All accusations right now,” Rocky said. “There’s no proof.”
Police interviewed the couple’s upstairs neighbor who says Ashley was yelling at the child the day of her injury, telling her, “no TV or food tonight.” A few days later, the neighbor told police she saw Rocky go into the apartment with cleaning supplies, later leaving with several full garbage bags.
Police later served a search warrant where nothing was seized but filthy living conditions were found.
Rocky says their other children are now in DCF custody.
The case has been continued to January 13.