Warning: Viewers may find these details to be disturbing.
OKLAHOMA CITY – A medical examiner’s report has ruled the death of a missing Norman baby as a homicide.
Seven-month-old Jody Minjarez was found Wednesday inside a trashcan outside a home on Venice Boulevard. His father, Victor Minjarez, 31, was arrested and charged for murder and unlawful disposal of human remains.
According to the medical examiner’s office, the child died from blunt force trauma to the head.
“Victor Minjarez was interviewed by homicide detectives and booked into Oklahoma County jail,” said Sergeant Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
Earlier this week, an Amber Alert had been issued for the baby. Norman Police Department public information officer Sarah Jensen confirmed the child’s mother obtained a victim protective order (VPO) against Minjarez four days after he allegedly beat her inside a Norman home and threatened to cut her head off.
Minjarez then took off with their child; however, Jensen told News 4, from a legal perspective, he still had rights as the father of the baby. The VPO was not served until after he was arrested, because the Oklahoma City home listed as the address was vacant.
Mark Opgrande with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office said they attempted to deliver the VPO on February 27. His agency has delivered about 500 VPOs so far in 2018.
“In cases like that, if that’s all the information we have to go on is where this individual, according to the VPO, lives at this address and we verify they’re not there, there’s not much else we can do,” Opgrande said.
According to an affidavit obtained by News 4, Minjarez sought shelter at an open home on 3005 Venice Boulevard. He told police he laid the baby next to a heater and, during the night, he woke up to find him with blisters on his face.
Minjarez told police he woke up to find the baby gurgling with bubbles around his mouth before blood came out.
Ryan Smith lives near the Venice Boulevard and was at a lost for words.
“It was disgusting,” Smith said. “I mean, who can kill a baby?”
When asked why an Amber Alert was not issued earlier than this week, Jensen told News 4 there had to have been an abduction to do so. She told us the mother did not think Minjarez would hurt the baby.
The Norman Police Department released a timeline of the events Thursday evening:
February 19, 2018: The victim, the mother of 7-month-old Jody Minjarez, reports to the Norman Police Department that she was assaulted by 31-year-old Victor Minjarez and left the residence with the child. The victim reported that she expected Victor Minjarez to return with Jody like he did the last time an incident of this nature occurred.
February 20, 2018: The case regarding this incident was assigned to a detective in the Criminal Investigations Division. The detective contacted the victim and encouraged her to obtain a Victim Protective Order (VPO).
February 23, 2018: Detectives conduct an interview of the victim. The victim informs the detective that she has obtained a VPO. A Cleveland County Judge ordered the return of the child to the victim on the VPO. During the interview, the victim stated that she did not believe Jody to be in danger, and that Minjarez had taken him in the past for approximately five days before returning him. Detectives made several attempts to locate Minjarez and Jody without success.
February 28, 2018: A friend of the victim received a text message that they assumed to be from Minjarez stating the victim would never see Jody again.
March 1, 2018: Detectives requested DHS petition the courts for a temporary emergency custody for the victim. The Cleveland County District Attorney’s office declined this request. Detectives continued to work to locate Minjarez and Jody without success.
March 6, 2018: Detectives determined that based upon all of the information received during the investigation, the unknown whereabouts of Victor Minjarez and Jody, and the concerning text message that they would request the assistance of the public. A press release requesting assistance along with listing Jody as a missing and endangered child was sent to the media. Multiple tips were followed up on throughout the night but Minjarez and Jody were not located.
March 7, 2018: Detectives determined that Minjarez should have been aware that both he and Jody were being sought due to the overwhelming media coverage. When neither Minjarez nor Jody was located, detectives determined that the criteria for an Amber Alert were met including the required element of abduction. Detectives also learned that Minjarez had stolen a vehicle, which further heightened the concern. At this point an Amber Alert was requested. After reviewing the information, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) determined that this information met the criteria and an Amber Alert was issued. Several hours later, Minjarez was located and taken into custody. The body of a child believed to be 7-month-old Jody Minjarez was also located at the residence in Oklahoma City where Victor Minjarez was taken into custody.