Mother of slain baby testifies at ex-boyfriend’s trial, says they met online
BY JANET LUNDQUIST email@example.com September 19, 2013 1:43PM
Santos Loza | Will County Sheriff's Office
Updated: October 21, 2013 2:14PM
In July 2008, Sandra Sitko drove to Joliet, her young children in tow, to meet a man who set up the meeting with her through a dating website.
About three months later, she left her infant son alone with the man, who prosecutors say beat the baby to death that night.
Sitko testified Thursday at the murder trial of her former boyfriend, Santos Loza, that she and her two children would sleep over at Loza’s house about three nights a week. She also said she never saw Loza lose his temper, nor did she see him hit her two boys.
Loza, 33, is accused of beating to death 9-month-old Kevion Bender in October 2008 at his Joliet townhome while he watched the baby alone.
Sitko lived with her father in West Chicago, she said. On Oct. 26, 2008, Loza watched Sitko’s baby while she went to work at a McDonald’s near her home.
Kevion was teething at the time, Sitko said, and would frequently cry in the evening and want to be held. She left Loza holding a crying Kevion when she left for work that night, she said.
She texted Loza from work throughout the evening, Sitko said, and Loza would respond by saying Kevion — who Sitko said could not crawl, walk or stand on his own — was OK.
Sitko returned to Loza’s Woodside Court residence in Joliet after work, about 11 p.m., with Kevion’s brother to spend the night.
Sitko testified that she looked in on Kevion from the doorway of the room he was in twice before she went to sleep that night, and he appeared to be sleeping on a blanket on the floor. She discovered he was dead the next morning when she and Loza got up, about 4:30 a.m. Oct. 27, 2008.
“His body was cold and stiff and lifeless,” she said, sobbing.
Sitko listened as a recording of the 911 call Loza placed that morning was played in court, including her voice saying, “You killed my baby!”
She testified that she initially told police Loza wouldn’t kill Kevion because he loved the boy. Two days after Kevion’s death, she told police she thought Loza may have suffocated Kevion under a blanket, she said.
Loza covered Kevion with a blanket — volunteering to cover the baby after Sitko said she was going to do it, Sitko said — late that night before they went to sleep, Sitko said.
In November 2008, Sitko told police Loza had to have been Kevion’s killer, as he was the only one home with Kevion the night before he was found dead, she confirmed on the witness stand.
After her son’s death, Sitko testified that she continued her relationship with Loza through February 2009. She confirmed that in November 2008 she texted him a picture she took of herself in her bedroom. Sitko said she wore pajamas in the photo, while defense attorney Joseph Lopez described her clothing as “lingerie.”
She also sent Loza a text that said “I miss you so much, I can’t eat or sleep, I need to see you” and asked to see him about a month after Kevion died, Sitko confirmed.
Sitko testified that she continued the relationship with Loza because she wanted to know what happened to Kevion.
When she asked Loza what happened the night before Kevion was found dead, Loza would avoid the topic or would tell her he didn’t want to talk about it, Sitko said.
Loza was arrested for Kevion’s murder in August 2010.
The trial is scheduled to continue Friday.