Parents Allegedly Killed Calif. Boy, 1, Then Showed Up to Family Function While Leaving Body in Car

On Tuesday, Barstow police arrested Jamari's parents Ricardo Mendez, 27, and Antanita Miller, 24

Jamari Mendez
Photo: Courtesy GoFundMe

The family of a California couple who allegedly murdered their 1-year-old son is reeling from their unexpected loss days later.

"Everybody is devastated," Jamari Mendez's aunt Leslie Mendez told KABC-TV. "We didn't expect our own blood to do this to his own son."

On Tuesday, Barstow police arrested Jamari's parents, Ricardo Mendez, 27, and Antanita Miller, 24. According to jail records, both are charged with torture, assault of a child and murder.

The day before their arrests, Leslie said her brother Ricardo and Miller unexpectedly showed up at a family home in Pomona, Calif., with their other two children. They said Jamari was with Miller's mother.

"They both walked inside like nothing happened," Leslie recalled to the station.

Ricardo eventually confessed to his family that Jamari was dead, Leslie alleged, and that his body was in the back of their car. Leslie said she hurried to retrieve her nephew, the outlet reports.

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"Everybody runs and he was covered in blankets. That's when my two other brothers helped my sister-in-law take the baby out," Leslie said.

Leslie and her sister-in-law rushed Jamari lifeless body to a local hospital, while, she said, the boy's parents stayed behind.

Despite efforts to revive him, Jamari was pronounced dead immediately upon arrival at the hospital, and authorities were called out to investigate his suspicious death, according to a Barstow Police Department news release.

Detectives said they observed his injuries to be consistent with ongoing abuse. Jamari's body was covered in "lesions, bruising, and burn marks," and some of the injuries appeared to be in different stages of the healing process, police said.

It is believed Jamari died at his home in Barstow prior to his arrival in Pomona.

During the investigation of the couple's home and their vehicle, investigators said they found evidence of items used in Jamari's alleged abuse, including a torch lighter.

Ricardo and Miller are due in court Wednesday. It wasn't immediately clear if the couple has retained attorneys or entered pleas.

In the meantime, Leslie has launched a GoFundMe campaign aimed at raising money to cover the slain toddler's funeral costs.

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