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Father facing murder charge in Las Vegas infant’s death

Updated May 4, 2017 - 6:43 pm

The father of a 5-month-old baby who died in August is now facing a first-degree murder charge.

Assuan Martinez, 34, was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on Wednesday and was released on a bond after surrendering his passport, court records show.

Medical personnel took the baby, Henry Martinez of Las Vegas, to a hospital on Aug. 3 following a 911 call about an unresponsive child, according to a report from the Clark County Department of Family Services.

Henry died two days later from blunt-force injuries to the head and neck. The baby also had blunt-force injuries to his torso, and the injuries resulted from an assault, according to the Clark County coroner’s office.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal obtained a copy of an arrest warrant for Martinez signed Monday. The warrant shows the man told first responders that Henry had choked on a bottle, and the injuries were the result of the man’s attempts at first aid.

But medical examiners and pediatric specialists who examined the infant and a report on his autopsy said the injuries were the result of abuse, the warrant shows.

Paramedics and police responded to the family’s home just before 11 p.m. First responders took the infant, whose heart had briefly stopped beating, to Summerlin Hospital Medical Center. Doctors there learned the baby’s brain was swollen and transferred the child to University Medical Center.

Martinez told officers at University Medical Center that Henry had choked. Doctors at the hospital told officers that the baby had multiple injuries, including bruises and fractured ribs, the warrant shows.

When police went to talk to Martinez a second time, they encountered a lawyer who said Martinez would not be answering any more questions. The family also refused to cooperate with investigators from the coroner’s office, the warrant shows.

Officers discovered more discrepancies during the monthslong investigation, according to the warrant. Police found wet baby clothes in a sink and noted that Martinez never mentioned putting the baby in water to revive him.

“In most cases … this is done in an effort to circumvent the notification to medical personnel and possibly the police,” the warrant states.

Officers also found Henry’s blood on an ottoman in the living room, which Martinez never explained.

Emergency dispatchers gave Martinez instructions on how to perform CPR, but the arriving paramedics said he was not doing it. The first responders also were unnerved by Martinez’s behavior when they arrived; he seemed too calm and did not ask to ride with the baby in the ambulance, according to the warrant.

The baby’s mother, Jacqueline Beato, a senior vice president at Caesars, was on a business trip to Atlantic City when Henry was hospitalized.

A call to Martinez’s listed defense attorney, Peter S. Christiansen, was not returned Thursday.

A GoFundMe page set up in Henry’s name has raised nearly $46,000 since the baby’s death. The page says the money would go to a children’s charity, but no charity is listed as a beneficiary. A message sent to the organizer was not returned Thursday.

Contact Wesley Juhl at wjuhl@reviewjournal.com and 702-383-0391. Follow @WesJuhl on Twitter.

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