MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Homestead man charged with second degree murder in the death of his son has been ordered to be held without bond.
During his court appearance, 29-year old Angel Villegas was dressed in a protective vest normally reserved for those on suicide watch. He kept his head down and spoke in a low voice when he answered the judge’s questions.
Villegas is accused of assaulting his two year old son Jayden in a fit of anger last week which left the boy brain dead.
Sunday afternoon Jayden was taken off life support at Miami Children’s Hospital at the request of the family.
“It hurts a lot, he was just my baby,” said Jayden’s mother, Vanessa Morales, after she made the devastating decision to let her son go. “I just told him to be strong. That we love him and his brothers love him and that I will never forget him.”
Two weeks ago, the Department of Children and Families reportedly removed Jayden and Morales’ three other sons from her home and sent them to live with Villegas.
“I warned DCF this was going to happen.” Morales said. “Before they removed my kids from my custody I told DCF the person he is. And the cases he was with me. And they just gave it to him because he is the father of the kids.” Morales said.
Police said last Tuesday Villegas was caring for Jayden and his eight other children at his apartment in Homestead when the boy started throwing up. Jayden had been battling a cold and was unable to keep any food down.
Frustrated and angry, police said Villegas violently threw his son on a bed, which caused the boy to hit his head against a wall.
“Mad, hate and really confused because I never thought he would do something like that,” said Morales. “Why did he take his anger out on a two-year-old, especially his son, his son.”
According to the arrest affidavit, Villegas found his son unresponsive on the bed the next morning.
Jayden was taken to a Miami Children’s Hospital, where he was declared brain dead.
Morales, who told CBS4’s David Sutta that she cannot afford Jayden’s funeral expenses, has taken to a Miami-Dade street corner to try and raise the money.
“$5,137.05.” she said. “”It doesn’t matter. A penny, five cents. Anything will help.”
She plans on going to keep fundraising all week, including going door to door.
The children of both Villegas and Morales are now in state custody.
Villegas does not have a prior history with the agency.
DCF released this statement to CBS4 News Monday afternoon: We are deeply saddened and are mourning the death of Jayden. This is a complicated family situation and we are only beginning to examine what could have been done differently to change the tragic outcome of this case. DCF, Our Kids and Children’s Home Society are now doing an in-depth, honest and difficult assessment of what happened and what gaps there may be in our system that will need to be filled in order to prevent this kind of tragedy from occurring in the future. Working together with our partners we will quickly address any issues uncovered by this assessment and work to improve the system. For Jayden and all children who are counting on us, the tough work we are doing now to understand the circumstances that led to this tragedy will save more children’s lives in the future.
If you would like to help out you can call through Neighbors for Neighbors at (305) 597-4404.