A man accused of sexually assaulting and beating his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter to death will remain in jail without bail as he awaits trial, a New Jersey judged ruled Thursday.
Maison Andres Torres, 25, is charged with first-degree murder, first and second-degree aggravated sexual assault and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child in the death of Lia Victoria Merino-Rodriguez.
Police determined Torres, who was dating the victim's mother, killed the child. Torres allegedly burned the girl with scalding water, punched her and then suffocated her with his hands.
Officers arrested Torres after arriving at the 1500 block of Chestnut Avenue in Trenton, New Jersey, for a report of an unresponsive 28-month-old girl. The child, later identified as Merino-Rodriguez, was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
In an exclusive interview with NBC10 sister station Telemundo 62, the girl's mother said she was devastated by the child's death and had never seen any odd behavior from Torres before leaving him alone with her daughter.
She remembered the hugs and kisses the little girl would give her when she arrived from work. "She was always stuck to me," the mother said.
"[Torres] doesn't know that he took away my heart," she added. "I hope he rots in jail. Death won't be enough for him, for what he did to my girl."
Torres will return to court on Sept. 9.