Dead boy’s sit­ter jailed

Af­fi­davit: care­taker badly beat child days be­fore body found

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Tony Plo­het­ski and Clau­dia Grisales

Au­thor­i­ties charged a 22-year-old woman Fri­day in the April death of a 5-year-old boy in her care, say­ing that she de­liv­ered a fa­tal beat­ing that left the body of Ju­lian Salazar Soliz cov­ered with nearly 60 bruises.

Ac­cord­ing to an ar­rest af­fi­davit, Ni­c­hole Shante Turner badly beat Ju­lian with a belt, also caus­ing se­vere in­juries to his ab­domen and dam­ag­ing his in­testines, days be­fore his body was found about a mile from her Wells Bran­charea apart­ment.

Turner told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that Ju­lian suf­fered from vom­it­ing and di­ar­rhea in the two days be­fore his death — symp­toms med­i­cal ex­am­in­ers said were con­sis­tent with his in­juries, the af­fi­davit said — and that she re­al­ized “she had lost con­trol.”

“There was bleed­ing ob­served on Ju­lian’s brain, which cor­re­lated to the lo­ca­tions of the con­tu­sions on his head,” the af­fi­davit said. “There was scar­ring wounds to his head, which also in­di­cated that they had been in­flicted days prior to the dis­cov­ery of Ju­lian’s body.”

Med­i­cal ex­am­in­ers told Travis County sher­iff’s de­tec­tives that an ex­am­i­na­tion of Ju­lian’s

Con­tin­ued from A1 body “showed ev­i­dence of both pre­vi­ous and re­cent trauma to Ju­lian’s ab­domen,” the af­fi­davit said.

The ar­rest brought an end to months of spec­u­la­tion — in­ten­si­fied at a re­cent cus­tody hear­ing in­volv­ing Turner’s chil­dren — that Turner could be re­spon­si­ble for Ju­lian’s death.

She was the last known per­son to re­port see­ing him alive. She called po­lice the morn­ing of April 10 to say that he was not in the bed­room at her Es­tates at Shore­line apart­ment at 3501 Shore­line Drive, where she said she had last seen him the night be­fore.

Un­til Fri­day, in­ves­ti­ga­tors had re­leased scant in­for­ma­tion about the case but had con­sis­tently said that they did not think a stranger killed Ju­lian.

Turner was booked into the Travis County Jail on a charge of in­jury to a child, a first-de­gree felony for which she could be sen­tenced to life in prison. Her bail was set at $100,000.

Ju­lian’s mother, Jes­sica Salazar, said Fri­day night that she was no­ti­fied of a pend­ing ar­rest ear­lier in the day and that de­tails about the fi­nal days of her son’s life left her in tears.

“It’s not some­thing a mother wants to hear,” she said, cry­ing. “How could any­body do that to a kid? I wasn’t there to stop it. I wasn’t there to save him.”

Ac­cord­ing to an ar­rest war­rant, Turner told de­tec­tives that Ju­lian had been in her care since his fa­ther had been ar­rested March 9 on a charge of car­ry­ing a pro­hib­ited weapon and de­scribed “whoop­ing” him on April 6 for ly­ing. She later said the beat­ing hap­pened April 7.

“She de­scribed how she hit Ju­lian with a black leather belt be­cause he had told a lie,” the af­fi­davit said. “Ni­c­hole de­scribed that as she was do­ing this, she got a hold of Ju­lian’s hand and he was mov­ing around while she was hit­ting him with the belt. Ni­c­hole said she hit Ju­lian on his but­tocks with the belt three or four times. Then when Ju­lian’s pants were down, she hit him with her hand on his but­tocks.”

Ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit, she told an in­ves­ti­ga­tor that as she was hit­ting the child, he fell to the ground and that she held him by his wrist.

“Ni­c­hole ad­mit­ted that the belt could have struck Ju­lian on the head and could have struck him in the stom­ach,” the af­fi­davit said.

Neigh­bors re­ported hear­ing what sounded like fur­ni­ture be­ing tossed around or some­one drop­ping heavy ap­pli­ances through­out Turner’s apart­ment the night be­fore Ju­lian’s body was found.

School of­fi­cials for Wells Branch Ele­men­tary, where Ju­lian was in kinder­garten, said Ju­lian had missed the two pre­vi­ous days of school.

Ju­lian’s fa­ther, Leonard “Ivan” Soliz, who was re­leased days af­ter the March ar­rest, has said that he left Ju­lian in Turner’s care and that he had not seen his son dur­ing the week be­fore his death.

Last month, a Travis County judge re­fused to al­low Turner to have visi­ta­tion with her 5year-old daugh­ter, call­ing state­ments the girl made in pri­vate in­ter­views “hor­rific.”

If the state­ments the girl made are true, “then you scare me greatly,” state District Judge Dar­lene Byrne told Turner in open court.

Byrne made her com­ments dur­ing an of­ten con­tentious hear­ing in a case to de­cide cus­tody of Turner’s two chil­dren. Byrne ruled that they would re­main with their fos­ter par­ents. Turner, how­ever, won an ad­di­tional hour of su­per­vised visi­ta­tion with her in­fant son, al­low­ing her to see him for two hours a week.

On Fri­day, Leonard Martinez, an at­tor­ney for Ju­lian’s fa­ther, said the ar­rest will come as a re­lief to his client. Soliz has been in­car­cer­ated in an un­re­lated as­sault case since April 20.

Martinez said his client and Turner had been es­tranged in the days be­fore Ju­lian’s death.

“He will be re­lieved that some­body has been ar­rested for the murder and sat­is­fied that some­body is fi­nally do­ing some­thing on this case,” Martinez said.

Ni­c­hole Shante Turner in­jured boy’s in­testines, af­fi­davit says.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.