Man accused of fatally punching 2-year-old girl in stomach

COLE CAMP, Mo. - A Missouri man is accused of fatally punching his girlfriend's daughter in the stomach.

Rafael Alejo, who also goes by the pseudonym Saul Rodriguez, is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse in the death of 2-year-old Mia Aguilar.

Alejo is believed to be in the U.S. illegally

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Mia's mother, Sanjuanita Aguilar, took her to Bothwell Hospital in Sedalia on Sunday because she was vomiting, breathing rapidly and her eyes were rolling in the back of her head.

While at the hospital, Mia became unresponsive with no pulse.

She was then taken to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where she died Tuesday morning.

"I think anytime it involves a child, it's an egregious crime," Sgt. Bill Lowe said. "Something like this always tugs at our hearts."

An interview with a Division of Family Services caseworker later that day led to the charges against Alejo.

The Children's Division worker told police that when she was checking on the welfare of Aguilar's other child, the 6-year-old boy told the worker that "Dad" hit Mia in her stomach, according to the probable cause statement. When she asked who "Dad" was, the boy said, "Saul."

"Any time a child is crying or you as a parent feel frustrated with that, you need to separate yourself from the situation. Get a calm cool head, and go back and address the problem," Lowe said. "You don't every want to take it out on the child."

The 6-year-old also told the caseworker that Saul has never hit him but has hit his mom.
Alejo is being held at the Benton County Jail.
 

A Missouri man is accused of fatally punching his girlfriend's daughter in the stomach.

Rafael Alejo, who also goes by the pseudonym Saul Rodriguez, is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse in the death of 2-year-old Mia Aguilar.

Alejo is believed to be in the U.S. illegally

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Mia's mother, Sanjuanita Aguilar, took her to Bothwell Hospital in Sedalia on Sunday because she was vomiting, breathing rapidly and her eyes were rolling in the back of her head. While at the hospital, Mia became unresponsive with no pulse.

She was then taken to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where she died Tuesday morning.

"I think anytime it involves a child, it's an egregious crime," Sgt. Bill Lowe said. "Something like this always tugs at our hearts."

An interview with a Division of Family Services caseworker later that day led to the charges against Alejo.

The Children's Division worker told police that when she was checking on the welfare of Aguilar's other child, the 6-year-old boy told the worker that "Dad" hit Mia in her stomach, according to the probable cause statement. When she asked who "Dad" was, the boy said, "Saul."

"Any time a child is crying or you as a parent feel frustrated with that, you need to separate yourself from the situation. Get a calm cool head, and go back and address the problem," Lowe said. "You don't every want to take it out on the child."

The 6-year-old also told the caseworker that Saul has never hit him but has hit his mom.

Alejo is being held at the Benton County Jail.

Mia's funeral was held Friday in Sedalia.

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