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Mom, boyfriend charged in the death of a malnourished, abused two-year-old boy

Toddler's death blamed on mom, boyfriend
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Posted at 4:28 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 17:28:58-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A two-year-old boy is dead after a life that included little or no food and water and possible abuse.

The accused in the toddler's death are his mother, Saritza Serrano, 24, and her live-in boyfriend, Ruben Yepez-Ruiz, according to court documents.

Jackson County prosecutors charged both with abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death.

Court documents state Kansas City firefighters were sent November 16 to a house at 2327 Norton Ave., on a child having a heart attack.

Firefighters tried to save the boy, but he died at the scene.

Police found the victim's cheeks and stomach were sunken and his ribs shown clearly through his skin, according to the court documents.

The officers also found other evidence of neglect when they removed the boy's diaper.

The house was described as a rat-feces-infested mess.

The dead child's bedroom door had a lock that prevented the door from being opened from the inside.

A look inside the closet found feces spread on the ceiling and floor, court documents state.

Officers talked with Serrano and she told them the child had been sick for three weeks.

She told the officers she gave the boy medicine, but stopped when his fever broke.

Serrano also told the officers the child did not want to eat solid food.

On the day of the child's death, Serrano said she found the child unresponsive in his room.

Court documents state Serrano called Yepez and he came home.

Yepez also told police the child had been sick for a few weeks, but no one took him to a doctor or hospital, according to court documents.

Yepez also said the last time he fed the child was in 2017.

Prosecutors requested a $250,000 bond, but a judge set bond at $25,000.

Yepez and Serrano are scheduled to be back in court on Dec. 18.

Bond conditions include no travel outside of Missouri and no contact with children under 18.