Expert: Slain baby had 35 injuries, including a fractured skull and ribs
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org September 23, 2013 5:04PM
Santos Loza | Will County Sheriff's Office
Updated: October 25, 2013 6:22AM
A medical expert testified Monday that a baby who authorities say was beaten to death by his mother’s boyfriend suffered his fatal injury four to eight hours before he died.
The exact time Kevion Bender, who was almost 9 months old, died is unknown. But authorities say Santos Loza is the only one who was taking care of him for at least six hours the night before he died in October 2008.
Prosecutors rested their case Monday against Loza, 33, who faces a murder charge in Bender’s death.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday morning.
The prosecution’s last witness was Valerie Arangelovich, a forensic pathologist who reviewed Bender’s medical case and determined he was a homicide victim.
There were 35 separate external injuries noted on the baby’s body, she said, including fractured ribs, bruises and scrapes, and a fractured skull.
Bender died from head injuries caused by blunt force trauma, authorities say.
“These are not things that occur from an accidental fall or dropping the baby,” Arangelovich said. “We have injuries all over the head, all over the buttocks. These ... are from someone inflicting these injuries on this baby.”
Bender did not have any food in his stomach at his autopsy, Arangelovich said, which contradicts Loza’s story that he fed Bender while watching him that evening.
She also said she analyzed microscopic slides of the tissue from an injury on Bender’s head, and said the injury probably occurred four to eight hours before he died.
“The only person who knows for sure when the injury occurred is the person who did this to this child,” Arangelovich said.
Prosecutors say Loza beat the baby to death while he watched the child alone in his Joliet home the night of Oct. 26, 2008.
The night of baby-sitting was uneventful, according to the summary Loza gave the detectives. The baby was crying when his mother, Sandra Sitko, left for work. Then Loza and Bender sat on a couch and laid on a bed to watch televised football and baseball until Loza put Bender to bed about 10 p.m.
Sitko returned to Loza’s Woodside Court residence in Joliet with Bender’s brother about 11 p.m. and spent the night, she previously testified.
Loza, who denied he ever struck Bender, was arrested for the baby’s murder in August 2010.