A story for every victim

Smith Fernando Garcia Rodriguez Jr., 1

Smith Fernando Garcia Rodriguez Jr., a 13-month-old boy, died Thursday, June 25, after he was beaten in the 14900 block of South Atlantic Avenue in East Compton, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies discovered Smith  after they received a call about a baby not breathing Sunday, June 7, about 4:25 p.m., according to a department news release. 

The baby had visible injuries, according to the release, and at the hospital it was determined he had significant internal injuries. Deputies arrested the mother's boyfriend, Rodrigo Hernandez, that evening on suspicion of child abuse.

Hernandez, a 23-year-old Latino from Compton, lived with Smith’s mother and other children in the apartment. 

Hernandez allegedly told deputies that he had struck the child multiple times, according to a department news release.

Smith was pronounced dead at 2:47 p.m. on June 25, according to coroner’s records. 

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office initially charged Hernandez with attempted murder and assault on a child causing a coma, but after the baby died, those charges were upgraded to murder and assault on a child causing death. 

Prosecutors say Hernandez had been watching the baby while his girlfriend was in another room. Other family members told her the baby was acting strangely. When she went to her son, he began having seizures, prosecutors said and bruises began developing on his body. 

Hernandez pleaded not guilty and is being held in Los Angeles County Jail. His bail was set at more than $2 million. He expected to return to court July 22 for a preliminary hearing setting in Department D of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Compton Branch. 

Jeanette Marantos

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