Foster father indicted on charges in childs death
Armando Moreno-Garcia joins his wife in facing trial
Last week Armando Moreno-Garcia sat in a Justice Center courtroom as his wife stood in a glass enclosure reserved for suspects during her arraignment on charges of murdering their 2-year-old foster daughter.
This week, he stood in the same glass enclosure.
A Multnomah County grand jury on Monday, Sept. 18, indicted Moreno-Garcia, 38, and his wife Dunia Soledad-Moreno, 29, on one count each of first-degree criminal mistreatment. Both foster parents allegedly withheld adequate medical attention from Keyana Bravo-Hamilton, 2, on or about the day she died.
On Monday, Sept. 4, the Gresham foster parents brought the toddler to Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center, where she died of internal injuries. Hospital officials reported the suspicious death to police, who investigated the case as a homicide. Gresham police arrested Dunia Soledad-Moreno, 29, on charges of murder by abuse five days later.
The grand jury also indicted Soledad-Moreno on charges of murder by abuse and felony murder.
According to the indictment, Moreno 'recklessly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life,' caused the toddler's death 'having previously engaged in a pattern and practice of assault' of the girl between June 16 and Sept. 4.
The murder count is due to Soledad-Moreno allegedly assaulting the girl on or between Aug. 20 and Sept. 4, resulting in her death, according to the indictment. A person is charged with felony murder if the suspect intended to kill someone, said Sgt. Teddi Anderson, a Gresham police spokeswoman.
In addition, the grand jury indicted Moreno on another count of first-degree criminal mistreatment - this time for allegedly injuring the victim's 3-year-old sister, Jasmine Hamilton.
Amanda Hamilton, the girls' aunt who was in the courtroom for Moreno-Garcia's arrangement, said Jasmine is doing well and staying with a foster family the girls lived with before moving into the Moreno home in June.
Their birth mother, Crystal Hamilton, 21, selected the Morenos to adopt her daughters because Moreno-Garcia is Jasmine's uncle, said their maternal grandmother, Christina Pintor of Beaverton.
'Crystal picked them, so they'd be in the family,' Pintor said. '… But who knew this was gonna happen.'
The two girls are part of a family cycle of drug-use, foster care and adoption.
Pintor said her own drug use caused state child-welfare workers to remove Crystal from her custody at the age of 3. She was adopted when she was 5.
But like her biological mother, Crystal also battled a drug addition. Her methamphetamine use caused the state to remove her two daughters from her custody. The girls, who are half-sisters, were placed with a foster family in February or March of 2005, but this June moved into the Moreno's Gresham home.
The Morenos were in the process of adopting the girls when Soledad-Moreno allegedly killed the younger girl.
After Keyana's death, state welfare officials removed Jasmine, as well as the Morenos' biological daughters, ages 6 and 2, from the Moreno's home, located in a yellow duplex at 245 S.E. Vista Ave.
Jasmine is now with her original foster family, Pintor said.
On Tuesday, Sept. 19, both foster parents entered not-guilty pleas. Soledad-Moreno, who is being held without bail on the Measure 11 offenses at the Justice Center Jail, is scheduled to stand trial on Halloween. Her husband's trail is set to start on Nov. 1. He is being held on $25,000 bail.
Pintor said she is angry that Moreno-Garcia isn't facing any murder charges.
'He was in the home, he had to have known what was going on,' Pintor said. 'And if he didn't do nothing about it, he should be charged with murder, too.'