HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A Harlingen man was sentenced Tuesday in the killing of a 2-year-old girl.
Jorge Abundez Jr. was sentenced to 60 years in prison in connection to the death of Katalina Castaneda, a news release from the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office stated. Abundez was convicted on one count of injury to a child, with the jury declaring a mistrial on the additional count of capital murder.
On April 19, 2017, officers were dispatched to 1805 S. 3rd Street in Harlingen in reference to an unresponsive child. At the scene, EMS attempted to revive the child but were unsuccessful.
When the child was brought to the ambulance, they noticed bruises along her torso and legs, that were in “various stages of healing,” the release stated.
Castaneda was transported to Valley Baptist Medical Center where she was revived but ultimately died from internal bleeding.
“This was a particularly heinous and outrageous murder. The initial claim that the child fell down the stairs was bogus. The loss of
Katalina’s life was senseless. I am thankful the jury sent the message that this type
of behavior is abhorrent and will not be tolerated in Cameron County. We will stand
up for abused children in our community. May Abundez spend every single second
of his sentence knowing that he is experiencing the consequences stemming from
his own awful and selfish choices,” Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz said.
According to previous ValleyCentral reports, Castaneda’s mother, Samantha Lee Gonzalez had called police stating she had fallen down the stairs. Her death was originally called accidental, but investigators continued looking into the case.
An autopsy would reveal that the child died due to blunt force trauma to the abdomen. ValleyCentral previously reported the following:
A local doctor stated in the autopsy that Castaneda’s injuries were not caused by a fall from the stairs, and “that the only way Katalina could suffer such an injury was if Katalina was ‘punched, kicked, squeezed or stomped with great force to the abdomen,” according to the criminal complaint. The criminal complaint also stated that a bald spot was found on Castaneda’s head that doctors believe came from “someone pulling her hair repeatedly.”
On April 25, doctors reported to police that “a ruptured liver and ruptured kidney had happened hours before the fall was reported”, according to the criminal complaint.
Gonzalez was initially charged with criminal negligent homicide before the charges were upgraded to capital murder.
A year after Castaneda’s death, Abundez was indicted by a grand jury. Police would arrest Abundez after he was found hiding under a bed at his home on S. 3rd Street.