Grief-stricken mother: ‘You killed my baby’
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org September 10, 2013 7:14PM
Santos Loza | Will County Sheriff's Office
Updated: October 12, 2013 6:36AM
It was just after 4:30 a.m. one October morning in 2008 when Sandra Sitko checked on her infant son and found him cold and stiff.
The hysterical woman could be heard sobbing in the background as Santos Loza, her boyfriend at the time, spoke to a Joliet 911 dispatcher.
Prosecutors played a recording of the call in court during a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday.
“You killed my baby,” the anguished mother cried as Loza held the line with the 911 dispatcher.
The nearly 9-month-old baby, Kevion Bender, was pronounced dead later that morning.
Loza, now 33, was arrested nearly two years later and charged with Bender’s death.
Will County Judge Sarah Jones decided Tuesday that a jury will hear the 911 call during Loza’s murder trial, scheduled to begin Monday.
Loza has been in the county jail in lieu of $3 million bond since his arrest in August 2010.
Sitko was dating Loza when she had him watch her infant son while she went to work on Oct. 27, 2008, authorities said. She returned to Loza’s Woodside Court residence in Joliet with Kevion’s half-brother around 11 p.m. and decided they would spend the night.
“That was the last time she knew her baby was alive,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Derek Ewanik Tuesday. “Ms. Sitko knows that the defendant was alone with the baby for seven hours before that.”
About 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2008, Sitko checked on Kevion and found him cold and stiff, prosecutors said.
During the 911 call, Loza told the dispatcher that the baby’s chest was not moving when his mother blew breath into his lungs.
“Yesterday the baby was fine. He was sleeping, then this morning ... she woke him up and now he’s not breathing,” Loza told the dispatcher. “His head’s, like, cold.”
An autopsy was performed later that day, after which the Will County Coroner’s office reported the baby died from multiple blunt-force head trauma.
Defense attorneys argued Tuesday that the 911 call should not be played at the trial because it is too prejudicial toward Loza. Ewanik said prosecutors believe Loza’s attorneys plan to paint Sitko as the killer, and that the call helps prosecutors show she was not responsible.
Police said no one else had been with the boy before Sitko returned, and questioned Loza several times before he was arrested Aug. 31, 2010.
Prosecutors said Loza was arrested two years after the baby’s death because authorities were waiting for forensic test results.
Loza has children of his own with two other women, both of whom told police Loza was controlling, and that they did not trust Loza to take care of the children, according to court records.
Defense attorneys have filed a motion to prevent the women from testifying during Loza’s trial, and agreed to address the issue during the trial if prosecutors decide to call them as witnesses.