About 19 months after Mariah Ramirez died, the infant's grandmother went to police with her belief that Anthony Naranjo had something to do with her death.
On Wednesday, Naranjo, the 22-year-old boyfriend of Mariah's mother, was booked into the Henderson jail on a charge of murder.
Mariah's grandmother had given Henderson police the information they needed to focus their investigation on Naranjo at the end of August.
She told police that on Feb. 7, 2006, as she and other family members waited for Mariah, who had been taken off life support to die at St. Rose Dominican Hospital's Sienna Campus, Naranjo told them he hadn't meant for "that to happen," a warrant for his arrest notes.
He "was fake crying" that night and he had been aggressive with the children before, the grandmother told police. One time a "visibly mad" Naranjo "violently grabbed" a car seat the infant was in, the warrant says.
The child's mother, Eugenia Avelar, 26, and Naranjo had taken Mariah to the hospital with a serious head injury after she fell into a seizure-like state in the early morning hours of Feb. 6, 2006, the warrant says.
The night before, Naranjo had called Avelar, asking to pick him up from a Super Bowl party. He initially told police that he had only three beers at the party, but later he admitted to drinking six beers and smoking two joints of marijuana, the warrant states.
Avelar took Naranjo to his family's home on Pella Drive in Henderson where they, along with Mariah and Avelar's other child, a 4-year-old girl, lived in an upstairs bedroom. The two had dated for four months before moving in with his family, the warrant states.
The baby, who was being watched by his family members, was crying when the two came home. The child had been "fussy' the previous few days because she was teething and had received five immunization shots that weekend.
While Avelar was downstairs preparing her bottle, she heard a loud thud on the wall upstairs where Naranjo and the baby were alone, the warrant continues. Avelar thought her daughter had fallen in her playpen and had hit her head against the adjacent wall.
"She walked into the bedroom and saw Mariah sitting up in the playpen, crying with her arms stretched out, so she picked her up and checked her," the report states. The baby stopped crying, so Avelar put her back in the bed and got in the shower.
Minutes later Naranjo brought Mariah, limp and unresponsive to her mother in the shower. When the shower water "didn't wake Mariah out of her seizure-like state" they took the baby to the hospital, the warrant states.
The swelling on the baby's head was so great that "when the skull was drilled to relieve the pressure, a spurt of blood shot ... two feet across the surgery room," the report states.
A doctor at the hospital doubted that a fall in a playpen would create enough "energy or force to cause a injury of (that) magnitude," the warrant continues.
Pediatric doctors also advised police that the injuries sustained by Mariah would have had an immediate effect on her, that only a few minutes would have elapsed before she would have exhibited the physical signs of seizure.
Contact reporter Beth Walton at Bwalton@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0279.