A story for every victim

Leslie Ramirez, 2

Leslie Ramirez, a 2-year-old Latina, died Friday, Nov. 12, after authorities were called to the 500 block of North Crane Street in Compton, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Paramedics took the toddler to St. Francis Medical Center where she died at 4:30 p.m., about 45 minutes after authorities received a 911 medical emergency call.

Homicide Det. Phil Guzman, who is handling the case, said investigators went to the hospital and the home to interview Leslie's family after they were notified of her death.

She was living in an apartment with her 9-year-old brother, mother and the mother's boyfriend. Guzman said the boyfriend is not the children's father.

According to preliminary coroner's records, Leslie had traces of bite marks; bruising to the extremities and torso; a "boggy scalp," indicating raw sores and hair loss; and tense abdomen.

Detectives later learned the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the abdomen, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Guillermina Saldaña.

Leslie’s brother was removed from the home and is in the care of Department of Children and Family Services, Guzman said. He said investigators do not yet know whether any prior abuse allegations had been made in connection with the family or if the family had previous contact with child welfare officials.

Five days after Leslie's death, her mother's boyfriend, Omar Zarate Gutierrez, was arrested on suspicion of fatally beating the young girl and charged with one count of murder.

Gutierrez, a 29-year-old Latino, had been dating Leslie's mother for four months and had lived with her and her children for about a month, officials said. He is currently being held in lieu of $1-million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 19 at Compton Superior Court. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years to life in prison,

Guzman said investigators do not anticipate arresting Leslie's mother. He said it was up to child welfare officials to determine whether her brother could be returned to the home. When asked if Leslie's father had been notified of her death, Guzman said it was unclear since he had been deported several years ago.

-- Sarah Ardalani

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