HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The trial for a Harlingen man accused of killing a 2-year-old girl has now entered day three.
Jorge Michael Abundez Jr. is facing charges of capital murder of a person under 10 years old and injury to a child, court records show.
An indictment charges Abundez with the killing of Katalina Castaneda by “blunt force abdominal trauma.”
Records show that jury trial began Monday and continued on Tuesday and Wednesday.
According to previous ValleyCentral reports, Castaneda died April 19, 2017. Castaneda’s mother, Samantha Lee Gonzalez, called police stating that the girl fell down the stairs and became unresponsive.
Harlingen police initially said her death was an accident, but investigators continued looking into the case.
An autopsy report later revealed that Castaneda 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.
In May 2017, Gonzalez was initially charged with criminal negligent homicide before being charged with capital murder.
More than a year after Castaneda’s death, Abundez was indicted by a grand jury. After receiving notice that the indictment had been processed, police found Abundez hiding under a bed at his home on South 3rd Street.
On Aug. 14, Gonzalez entered a plea of no contest to a different charge, injury to a child, after the charge of capital murder was dismissed.
As part of a plea bargain, she agreed to “testify truthfully” in the case involving Abundez and would receive 10 years probation.
Trial for Abundez is scheduled to continue on Thursday and Friday.