Not only were a dead baby's broken ribs and fractured skull indicative of child abuse, but the bruises covering his head and other parts of his body appear to have been intentionally inflicted as well, a doctor testified during the trial of the man charged with killing the boy.
"This child has all these bruises in all these unusual places," Dr. Emalee Flaherty said of 8-month-old Kevion Bender.
"And he's 8 months old," Flaherty said. "He shouldn't have any bruises at all."
Flaherty, a pediatrician, was called as an expert witness by the prosecution at the trial of 33-year-old Santos Loza.
Loza faces up to 100 years in prison if convicted of Kevion's October 2008 murder.
Loza and Kevion's mother, Sandra Sitko, met on the Internet a few months and she started spending a few nights of the week at his townhouse in Joliet, defense attorney Joseph "Shark" Lopez said during the trial. Loza moved to Plainfield prior to his arrest in August 2010.
Sitko brought both Kevion and her 5-year-old son, Dillon, with her when she spent the night with Loza. Dillon slept on a couch when he stayed at Loza's townhouse and Kevion was put to bed on the floor.
The night before Kevion died, Sitko went to work at a West Chicago McDonald's and left Loza to watch the boy. She returned from work about 11 p.m., said prosecutor Chris Koch. Sitko looked in on Kevion from a doorway but did not actually check his condition, Koch said.
Less than six hours later, Sitko discovered her son was not breathing. Loza called 911 and he and Sitko tried to revive the child. Kevion was pronounced dead at St. Joseph Medical Center.
Flaherty testified that it appeared Kevion's ribs broke when someone squeezed his body with both hands.
"My best medical opinion is that child abuse caused all these injuries Kevion had," Flaherty said.