‘Heard a smack’: Polk County woman ‘blacked out’ before baby suffered skull fractures, died

Polk County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 2-month-old baby boy has died after suffering multiple skull fractures at a home in Polk County last week.

The Polk County Fire Rescue found the child unresponsive after being called to the Fort Meade home on Saturday. The boy was rushed to Tampa General Hospital, where he later died.

Doctors said the child had suffered multiple head fractures and severe brain bleeding. They also found contusions on his body and an injury on his right leg. His death was caused by blunt force trauma and ruled a homicide, deputies said.

Hipolito Juarez, a man living at the home, told investigators he was in bed when he “heard a smack.” He got up and found Judith Torres Garcia on the floor, lying on top of the baby. They both called 911.

Torres-Garcia, 31, said she was sleeping and was awoken by the baby’s cries. When she went to check on him, she said she blacked out and couldn’t remember what happened next.

Investigators said a search of the home turned up several bags containing methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Torres-Garcia was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor, possession of drug paraphernalia, also a misdemeanor. She is being held in the Polk County Jail without bond.

Juarez, 32, was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor, and possession of drug paraphernalia, also a misdemeanor. He was being held on a $3,000 bond.

Deputies said Juarez is a convicted felon with previous arrests for burglary, battery on a pregnant woman, driving without a license and various drug charges.

“This 8-week-old infant was killed by a woman who lives with a convicted felon and illegal drugs in the home,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “This baby’s life had barely begun. What a tragedy. We will do everything possible to make sure this suspect is held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

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