Murder charges filed in deadly beating of 3-year-old girl

HomicideJose Cruz

A man now faces a murder charge in connection with a deadly beating that killed a 3-year-old girl.

Prosecutors filed the formal murder charge against Jose Cruz Friday morning. He had previously faced attempted murder charges in the beating of 3-year-old Carmen Ellis.

Police were dispatched to an apartment in the 3700 block of Long Wharf Dr. on Tuesday to investigate a report of an unresponsive child. When they arrived, they found 3-year-old Carmen wasn’t breathing. Medics told investigators that the girl had “bruising all over her body,” according to court documents.

Police saw feces on the floor. When asked about it, Cruz—the boyfriend of the girl’s mother—said Carmen had done it while he was performing CPR.

The girl was taken to Riley at IU Health, where doctors noticed “severe bruising to her face, legs and back,” court documents said. Some of the bruises had “a looping pattern” consistent with being struck by a flexible object such as “a belt and/or extension cord.” Doctors also said Carmen had head and internal injuries.

A detective interviewed Cruz, who said the girl had soiled herself. According to court documents, Cruz said he “blanked out,” beating the girl with a leather belt and then hitting her in the face and the side of the head. Cruz also “grabbed her and shook her.” When Carmen started having seizures, Cruz said he hit her repeatedly.

Carmen died at the hospital on Wednesday. An autopsy on Thursday found the girl suffered several external and internal injuries. The coroner determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma and ruled it a homicide.

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