Minnesota Couple Arrested after Toddler Died from Severe Abuse; Victim’s Body was Covered in Bruises when Rushed to Hospital

Authorities in Minnesota have detained two caretakers on charges related to the beating death of a 3-year-old boy that occurred earlier this year.

On Monday, authorities stated that Rosa Esperanza Garza, 24, and Shiann Lynn Erickson, 22, had been arrested and charged with one count of second-degree murder without intent in relation to the death of Eastyn James Deronjic, a juvenile.

Officers and emergency medical personnel were dispatched to an apartment complex in the 1500 block of Belsly Boulevard South in Moorhead at around 1:09 a.m. on March 18, 2024, in response to a 3-year-old child who was not breathing, according to a news release from the Moorhead Police Department. The house is situated approximately 230 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

Upon arrival, emergency personnel found a severely injured child, later named Eastyn, and administered life-saving measures before transferring him to Sanford Hospital via ambulance. The youngster was declared dead not long after arriving at the clinic; regrettably, he died from his injuries.

Garza and Erickson’s Moorhead house was the location of Eastyn and his younger brother’s “extended period,” according to the police. The biological parents of the children were said to be “acquaintances” with Garza and Erickson.

After Eastyn passed away, his brother was taken from the house and put into protective custody.

Authorities in Ramsey County were waiting for the results of a toxicology screening before releasing any information regarding the cause of death of Eastyn, who had an autopsy performed.

Additional details regarding the events surrounding Eastyn’s death were revealed in court documents.

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The autopsy result was received by the authorities on June 28, according to the report, and it said that the child’s death was caused by a blunt force injury that perforated his gut, making it a homicide. According to reports, Eastyn sustained 28 other blunt-force injuries all over his body in addition to the fatal blow.

Reportedly, Garza and Erickson asserted that Eastyn’s facial bruises occurred the day preceding his demise. Reports reviewed by Law and Crime indicated that he passed out after vomiting over the toilet and then injured his head. The youngster had reportedly fallen from his bikes and skateboards that day, according to Garza.

While Erickson denied ever seeing Garza aggressively treat Eastyn, she allegedly asserted that Garza had abused her in the past.

Erickson and Garza are currently detained in the Clay County Jail without bond. Their first court appearances are set for Tuesday.

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