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Man covered 2-year-old’s mouth until she stopped breathing, police say

A man accused of killing a niece he was babysitting told a homicide detective that he slapped the toddler and then covered her mouth until she stopped breathing, according to his North Las Vegas police arrest report.

Leo’oolo Tevaseu, 21, was booked into the North Las Vegas Community Correctional Center on one count each of murder and felony child abuse, according to records that showed he remained jailed Tuesday.

Emergency services were dispatched shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday to an apartment complex in the 3400 block of Mercury Street, near Interstate 15 and Gowan Road.

Tevaseu had been watching over his sister’s children while she was out running errands when 2-year-old Fofogafeta Maluia Fields stopped breathing, the report said.

The child was rushed to University Medical Center, where she died, police said. The Clark County coroner’s office had not ruled on her official cause and manner of death.

Police said the toddler had injuries to her face consistent with being suffocated.

Tevaseu gave five accounts of what supposedly happened until he allegedly admitted to a version of events that prompted the murder charge, the report said.

According to police, Tevaseu said that he slapped the girl and then hit her with a pillow when she wouldn’t stop crying.

“Leo’oolo picked her up and held her like a baby while she continued to cry,” the report said. “Leo’oolo used his hand to cover (redacted) mouth for about 30 seconds.”

Tevaseu said he tried performing CPR and tried giving the girl water, and didn’t call 911 for at least five minutes, the report said.

Around the same time, Tevaseu called his sister to tell her that her daughter fell and he was worried about the child, police said.

The woman told police that the toddler had no known medical history and “was overall a healthy kid,” according to the report.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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