FORT MYERS, Fla. — A babysitter accused of killing an infant at a North Galaxy Drive home has been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child and aggravated child abuse, the state attorney’s office said Wednesday.
Rafael Carrion Jr., 27, will be arraigned Dec. 27 for the charges related to the Thanksgiving Day death of 8-month-old Julian Valdez. He faces life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.
Autopsy results showed massive head injuries to Julian that were consistent with a violent beating, and Carrion couldn’t explain how they happened, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said.
Emergency personnel responded to a 3 a.m. call that Julian wasn’t breathing and took him from Carrion’s home on 4944 N. Galaxy Drive. to Gulf Coast Hospital, where the boy was pronounced dead.
Carrion was the one who called 911, his father said, adding that Carrion had been babysitting Julian and two other children for a friend. Carrion was unable to get a hold of his friend, who is the mother of the children, and hadn’t seen her for eight days, Carrion’s father said.
Carrion’s father maintained his son’s innocence, but the case prompted a strong reaction from Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott.
“This innocent life, lost at the hands of a monster, has affected me and my team today in a profound way,” Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said in a statement shortly after Carrion’s arrest. “I can’t find the words to adequately describe my anger and heartache.”