UPDATE, AUG. 11, 4:50 P.M.: The county grand jury today returned a murder indictment for Juan Carlos Aguilar, the 25-year-old Santa Ana man accused of squeezing to death Megan Rodriguez, his girlfriend's 18-month-old daughter.
The grand jury also indicted Aguilar, who is currently being held in lieu of $1 million bail, for allegedly abusing a 3-month-old girl the same way in 2009. The dead toddler was related to the second girl.
The Orange County District Attorney's offfice charged Aguilar with murder in July and, following subsequent investigation, tacked on the abuse count last week.
ORIGINAL POST, AUG. 4, 12:39 P.M.: Juan Carlos Aguilar, 25, of Santa Ana, is already being held on $1 million bail for murder and abuse charges related to an 18-month-old girl in his care who died 15 minutes after being brought to a hospital July 9 barely breathing and with a slight pulse, bruises and lacerations to her body and face and internal injuries to her lungs, liver and brain.
Following Aguilar's July 12 arrest for allegedly beating and squeezing to death Megan Rodriguez, the investigation continued, and the Orange County District Attorney's offfice (OCDA) today revealed new charges for a similar 2009 incident involving a 3-month-old girl who survived.
Aguilar resided in a Santa Ana apartment with his girlfriend, their 3-year-old daughter, his girlfriend's sister and her 18-month-old daughter, Megan. The morning of July 9, he was left in Megan's care as her mother went to work at a Newport Beach hotel and his girlfriend and daughter went to the market.
The OCDA claims that when Aguilar was alone with Megan, he squeezed her ribcage with his hands and great force. When his girlfriend and the 3-year-old returned to the apartment around 10:30 a.m., Megan was limp and having trouble breathing. The girlfriend wanted to call police, according to prosecutors, but Aguilar insisted they drive the girl to the hotel where her mother worked.
After picking up the mother, they all drove to Coastal Community Hospital in Santa Ana. Megan, who arrived with shallow breathing and barely any pulse, was pronounced dead 15 minutes later. The OCDA charged Aguilar with murder and felony abuse charges on July 12.
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But the ongoing investigation determined that in 2009, Aguilar had allegedly put another 3-month-old female relative in his death grip, squeezing and fracturing her ribcage. That baby survived her injuries.
This morning, the OCDA unveiled all the charges now pending against Aguilar: one felony count of murder, one felony count of assault on child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death, and two felony counts of child abuse.
If convicted, he could get up to 25 years to life in state prison.
Aguilar is scheduled to be arraigned Friday morning in Santa Ana.