Maria Diaz always knew her grandson would die. She would tell detectives that she knew “the baby would not be with us long.” But she still didn’t do a damn thing to stop it. According to police, 6-month-old Angel Diaz woke up crying at 2 a.m. last Thursday…
The child’s mother, Heather A. Romero, prepared a bottle. But the baby’s father, 19-year-old Henry Diaz III, decided the kid didn’t deserve anything. Instead, he put three blankets over the baby’s face — presumably to drown out the wailing — and the couple went back to bed.
At 7 a.m. the next morning, police received a 911 call from a neighbor in Tucson saying that Angel was unresponsive. The couple tried to explain it away, saying that the baby had fallen from a bed a few weeks back. Romero also claimed she’d taken Angel to the doctor just a week before and that he was fine.
Yet when Angel died, their stories began to collapse.
The baby hadn’t actually seen a doctor since he was just a few days old. Moreover, Angel showed all kinds of signs of abuse. He had fractures on his elbow and ankle, plus breaks in his femur and rib cage that had already begun to heal. There were bruises from head to toe, and doctors suspected internal bleeding.
Henry Diaz’s mother, who lived with the couple and her grandson, told police that her son was always yelling at the baby to shut up. When she tried to tell him that Angel was just a baby, Henry told her to mind her own business. She would later admit to police that she knew “the baby would not be with us long.” But she apparently did nothing to stop it.
The same appears to be true of Angel’s mother, Romero. She told police that Henry Diaz was often violent with her, and he refused to let her leave the relationship. In December, he was arrested for domestic assault. He was also arrested for auto theft later that month.
But though she told police that she was being beaten, she never told them about Angel’s abuse until it was too late. Detectives believe the little boy was regularly beaten over his six-month life.
And because that abuse was so systemic, Henry Diaz has now been charged with premeditated murder.
See our last story from the Child Abuse file: Keith Brown, Patriarch of the Singing Group The 5 Browns, Pleads Guilty to Molesting His 3 Daughters.