Juan Garcia, Alleged Kid-Killer, Turns Himself In to Authorities Near the Border

Juan Garcia -- who's accused of killing his girlfriend's 2-year-old son in February -- turned himself in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents near the border crossing in Lukeville on Friday, the Pima County Sheriff's Department confirmed.

Garcia, 18, has been wanted by Phoenix police since going on the run after allegedly beating 2-year-old Jorge Zamora-Rogel to death on February 24.

The boy's mother, 18-year-old Wendy Rogel-Pagasa, was arrested for allegedly waiting for more than three hours after the boy went unconscious to call 9-1-1.

According to court documents previously obtained by New Times, Rogel-Pagasa and her son were at home that night when Garcia showed up with some food.

After Garcia's girlfriend informed him that her son wouldn't be eating any of the food he brought over, Garcia went to the boy's bedroom and attempted to pull him out of the room by his ear.

When the boy began to cry, police say Garcia picked the boy up by the throat and began slamming his head into the bedroom wall. Garcia then began slamming the boy's head against the ground, beating the kid unconscious before Rogel-Pagasa intervened, according to court documents.

When Rogel-Pagasa did try to get involved, police say he whipped her with an electrical cord and choked her.

Garcia attempted to wake the boy up -- by hitting him more, lifting him up by his ankle, bending his fingers back, and slapping him face -- but the boy remained unconscious, according to police, and Garcia just left.

Rogel-Pagasa also tried to wake the boy up, telling police she cleaned the "bloody froth" coming out of his mouth several times.

Rogel-Pagasa told police her son's arms were spasming uncontrollably, and his erratic breathing was making a "rattling sound" -- which she recognized from "one of her dogs which died shortly after making this noise."

About 90 minutes after Garcia left, he showed up again and tried to wake the boy up -- again by hitting the kid and bending his fingers back -- which still didn't work.

Eventually, police say, the boy stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating as well.

Shortly before 10:45 p.m. -- more than three hours after Garcia allegedly started beating the boy -- Rogel-Pagasa called 9-1-1, but the boy was pronounced dead at the home shortly after the fire department's arrival.

According to the court documents, Rogel-Pagasa had no explanation for why she didn't call 9-1-1 immediately, or at least get help from the neighbors, citing the "violent assault on her son causing severe swelling to [his] head, obvious bruising, bloody froth coming from his mouth, labored breathing with rattling sounds, unconsciousness, and non-responsiveness to pain stimuli for over three hours...".

With that, and the fact that Garcia went into hiding after the boy died, Phoenix police officers weren't exactly happy.

"When you have an act like this committed against a 2-year-old, there's not too many people that doesn't outrage," Phoenix police spokesman Trent Crump told New Times shortly after the boy's death. "Including the people in this department."

We even spotted Garcia's face lit up on an electronic billboard around McDowell and State Route 143.

Now he's waiting for his ride back to Phoenix to face charges of first-degree murder, child abuse, and a couple of assault charges, while Rogel-Pagasa has already pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley