UPDATE NO. 2, JULY 21, 3:51 P.M.: Some readers who say in our comments below that they know Jordan Peter Mendez allege that they know the defendant and that the baby he is accused of killing came as a result of a relationship with an underage girl. That led others to wonder if that is true, how come 20-year-old Mendez is not additionally facing charges of sex with a child. Well, he is now, as an Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) statement indicates the Santa Ana resident has now been charged with felony counts of murder and committing lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 that, with a conviction, could send him to state prison for 33 years to life. He was scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon at Central Jail in Santa Ana.
The OCDA statement alleges Mendez committed the lewd acts upon the girl who was younger than 14 between June 1 and Aug. 31 of 2014. The release also sheds light on what killed three-month-old Tristin Cota La Verne Mendez. On Friday evening, the baby's mother ran errands and Mendez babysat. But at some point the adult and his son left the home, returning before the mother came back. The teen mom noticed her child was struggling to breathe and 9-1-1 was called. As previously reported, Santa Ana cops and paramedics performed CPR on the child before he was taken to Children's Hospital of Orange County. It was at CHOC that blunt force trauma to the infant's head was discovered, according to the OCDA. Mendez is still being held on $1 million bail.
UPDATE NO. 1, JULY 20, 6:55 P.M.: The Orange County Coroner's Office advised Santa Ana Police homicide detectives that while on life support, Tristin Cota La Verne Mendez passed away this afternoon. The three-month-old's death is now being investigated as a homicide, according to the department. The baby was placed on life support so the organs could be donated and a baptism could be performed, according to Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. The child's father, Jordan Mendez is still being held on $1 million bail. City News Service reports he had been the subject of an arrest warrant after being declared a fugitive in an identity theft case filed April 2 of last year. The arrest warrant was issued Nov. 7. He is expected to appear in court in connection with that warrant Tuesday, the same day as his baby boy's autopsy.
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 20, 7:59 A.M.: A 3-month-old boy was on life support at Children's Hospital of Orange County and not expected to survive and his father was being held in lieu of $1 million bail in Santa Ana Jail on a potential murder charge this past weekend.
Jordan Mendez, 20, so far faces suspected assault on a child with great bodily injury or death.
Police were called just before 8:45 p.m. Friday to the 800 block of West Stevens regarding a baby who was not breathing.
Cops and paramedics performed CPR on the infant before he was rushed to CHOC in critical condition, but the hospital's medical staff "observed signs of physical trauma on the infant," according to a statement from Santa Ana Police.
Homicide detectives later interviewed Mendez, who was then arrested.