A 22-year-old Spokane Valley man already in custody for allegedly beating his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter is now being investigated for possibly sexually abusing her as well. Detectives said DNA was recovered during a sexual assault kit that indicates the victim was sexually abused.
Court documents identify the suspect as Brandon Oquendo. Detectives filed a search warrant for Oquendo's DNA to compare to the DNA recovered from the victim in the sexual assault kit. Court documents state, "Brandon spent much time alone with (the victim.)" They go on to state that the detective "has not been informed of other males who had proximity to (the victim) which would have allowed the opportunity to conduct the sexual assault, where their semen would have been left in or on her." The detective writes that Oquendo is the "primary suspect in the sexual assault" of the toddler..
The victim was taken to the hospital last month with life-threatening injuries from the beating. Detectives say her condition is improving, but the injuries were substantial. She had bruises on her body, two brain bleeds and a collapsed lung, by the mother's boyfriend, Brandon Oquendo.
The attending doctor noted the little girl had two brain bleeds, a collapsed lung, bruises on the right side of her forehead, lip bruising and a cut on her lip, a bruise on her left cheek and shoulder, a bruise on her left nipple, an abrasion on her neck, hand size bruises on the front of both hips and a bruise above her genitals. The brain bleeds are considered life-threatening and the child was admitted to the ICU.
After being alerted by doctors, detectives from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office responded to the hospital and interviewed the mother, who said Oquendo had been watching her daughter while she was at work. The mother said she began noticing an increasing number of bruises recently. According to the mother, on Saturday night, she confronted Oquendo who said the bruises were a result of accidents and rough housing with his son. The mother said she told him he needed to be more vigilant when watching the girl.
The mother says she received a call while at work on Sunday from Oquendo, who told he the girl was having a seizure.
Detectives interviewed Oquendo at the hospital who initially denied doing anything to the girl that would have caused her injuries. After further questioning, court documents show Oquendo admitted that while watching the girl, she had hit him in the face, he got upset and hit her in the stomach area. Oquendo says the girl cried and he sent her to her room.
When questioned about the brain bleeds, Oquendo told detectives it was an accident. Oquendo says he was playing Xbox when the girl walked in front of him. He says he "lost control of himself" while playing the game, threw his right hand forcefully with the controller in it and accidentally hit the girl in the back of the head. According to court documents, Oquendo hit her with such force that she ended up flipping over and falling to the floor.
Oquendo says he picked up the child to check on her and she fell asleep next to him. Oquendo says the child woke up, squeezed his finger, her eyes rolled back and she began having a seizure. Oquendo says he called 911 and then called his girlfriend.
After admitting to assaulting the child on purpose, detectives placed Oquendo under arrest and based on the evidence, charged him with First Degree Assault of a Child. He remains in jail.
(story: Hayley Guenthner, KHQ Local News Anchor & Reporter; photo: KHQ.com)