Las Cruces Man Pleads Not Guilty In Boy's Death

Jan 15, 2013

A 27-year-old Las Cruces man accused in the 2012 death of a 21-month-old boy has pleaded not guilty to a charge of intentional child abuse resulting in death.

The Las Cruces News-Sun ( ) reports that Dustin M. Castillo spoke little during a court proceeding Monday in state District Court.

Castillo told police that Mariano Hernandez's choked on candy as they rode in a car, but physicians concluded that the boy had brain trauma, a skull fracture, a torn lip and numerous bruises.

A subsequent autopsy report by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator determined that the death was homicide.

Castillo was caring for the toddler and the toddler's sibling at the behest of their grandmother.

Court documents indicate that the whereabouts of the children's biological parents is unknown.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.