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Couple charged in toddler’s abuse death; boyfriend later arrested in Missouri

BLAINE -- The mother of a 21-month-old boy and her boyfriend were charged Wednesday in the death of the toddler after Blaine authorities say the child suffered injuries consistent with assault and child abuse.

BLAINE -- The mother of a 21-month-old boy and her boyfriend were charged Wednesday in the death of the toddler after Blaine authorities say the child suffered injuries consistent with assault and child abuse.

Nelson Geovanny Soto-Lopez, 24, faces one count of second-degree murder in the boy’s death on Tuesday, according to the criminal complaint filed against him in Anoka County District Court. He was arrested Wednesday in Missouri after fleeing Minnesota, authorities said.

Heydi Jaqueline Aguilera-Bustillo, 26, is charged with second-degree manslaughter, aiding an offender and child endangerment, court documents say.

Aguilera-Bustillo is the boy’s mother. She and Soto-Lopez lived together in an apartment on 87th Avenue Northeast in Blaine along with Aguilera-Bustillo’s 21-month-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

Aguilera-Bustillo told authorities she is also pregnant with Soto-Lopez’s child.

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Police were dispatched to the Blaine Medical Center just after 7 a.m. Tuesday on a report of an unresponsive child.

Despite lifesaving efforts, the boy died at the scene. His cause of death was ruled a homicide as the result of multiple blunt-force trauma, court documents say.

The boy suffered bruises to his head and abdomen, multiple skull fractures and bleeding to his brain.

His mother was with him at the medical center and was taken into custody after giving conflicting stories to police, according to the charges.

After first lying to investigators about what had happened, she admitted that Soto-Lopez had hit the boy repeatedly with a belt when he was crying, according to the charges. She said he later threw the child in the air and at one point dropped him on his head, according to the criminal complaint filed against her.

She also admitted to discovering red marks on the boy’s body and head and said Soto-Lopez had struck the boy with a belt on two prior occasions, according to the charges.

She changed her story about when the boy stopped breathing, at times saying it was about 2 or 3 a.m. Tuesday and later saying he was still breathing when she woke him up at 7 a.m., court documents say.

Authorities say Soto-Lopez fled after the incident along with Aguilera-Bustillo’s daughter. He was arrested by the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Wednesday morning after authorities discovered he had hired a cab to drive him there and the driver provided his whereabouts, authorities say.

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He was believed to be on his way to Arkansas, where he has family. The 5-year-old was discovered with him and appeared to be safe, said Cmdr. Paul Sommer of the Anoka County sheriff’s office.

Both Soto-Lopez and the child are still in Missouri. The child is being looked after by social services while Soto-Lopez awaits extradition.

Neither Soto-Lopez or Aguilera-Bustillo appear to have a criminal record in Minnesota.

Related Topics: CRIME
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