EL PASO (KDBC) — With a happy birthday melody and balloons in the air, the Villanueva family remembered Isaiah Villanueva, a 2-year-old boy full of energy and life that died after his mother's boyfriend allegedly hit him until he died.
The family gathered at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in the lower valley to celebrate what it would’ve been Isaiah's 4th birthday.
Villanueva’s grandmother Elizabeth Escarsega says that even though time has passed the mourning and pain are still present.
"Why did this happen why did this happen and then we end up in the same place over and over it's been real hard he would've been 4 years old my baby didn't deserve it," Escarsega said.
Police charged Ever Mendez with Villanueva’s death. He’s still awaiting his trial which is expected to be sometime next year.
The family was asking for the death penalty but the district attorney's decision was to pursue life in prison with no parole.
"I would've wanted him to get the death penalty but Jaime Esparza decided not to because there was a lot of issues so I was kind of disappointed because the way he killed by baby he didn't deserve that," Escarsega added.
According to Child Help Foundation, every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse involving more than 6 million children are made in the U.S.
Records say that on average four children die every day as a result of child abuse, that's why this family is seeking to raise awareness in the community to report any suspected cases.
"The community needs to be involved and they need not to stop or hesitate, call it in even the schools the daycare. They stop to think about it and this is what happened you know because in the daycare where my baby was staying they hesitated to call it until it was too late." Escarsega concluded.
The family is encouraging the community to report any suspected cases of child abuse you can do so by contacting any of the agencies listed.
Child Protective Services
CPS El Paso Unit Division Chief