SOUTH BEND - Testifying for the defense, Valentin Escobedo denied Monday ever having abused his daughter. He admitted, however, to lying about what happened to her on Dec. 2, 2008.
During cross-examination Tuesday, the state focused on that admission. Prosecutor Ken Cotter had Escobedo recall the events of that day, taking note of the number of times he repeated that lie to doctors and police.
“Didn’t the doctor turn to you and say, ‘Tell me what happened?’” Cotter asked.
“He asked me how I found her,” Escobedo said.
“And what did you tell him?”
“I told him I found her in the crib.”
“You didn’t tell him you took her in the shower?”
“You didn’t tell him you fell on her?”
“You didn’t tell him that’s how she hurt her head?”
“Didn’t the doctor tell you that, to treat your daughter, it was important to know what happened?”
Escobedo, 25, of South Bend, is accused of murder, battery and child neglect in the death of his daughter, Maya, in 2008. According to an autopsy, the 2-year-old died of head injuries.
During testimony Monday, Escobedo said he heard Maya cough shortly after putting her to bed on the night of Dec. 2, 2008. He entered her room, he said, and found she had vomited in her crib.
He said he undressed her and removed her diaper. He then attempted to lift her into the shower to clean her up, but slipped and fell and landed on her head.
She later died at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center.
Escobedo said he did not tell doctors and police the truth that night - he was reportedly asked repeatedly what happened - because he did not want to be accused of hurting Maya again.