A Spokane Valley man is accused of beating his girlfriend’s toddler during the weekend because the child passed in front of him while he played video games.
Brandon Oquendo, 22, told Spokane County sheriff’s deputies that he hit the 21-month-old in the back of the head on Sunday because she passed in front of him while he was playing Xbox at the apartment where he lived in the 2800 block of North Cherry Street, according to court documents. He also admitted to punching her in the abdomen earlier in the day.
Medics took the child to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center that evening with several bruises, a collapsed lung and a bleeding brain, according to court documents. Doctors told deputies her injuries were life-threatening.
Oquendo was the girl’s primary sitter during the day while her mother was at work, according to court documents.
While in the hospital Sunday, the mother told deputies she had confronted Oquendo on Saturday after noticing an “increased number of bruises” while her daughter was in his care.
Oquendo, who recently was fired from his job at Value Village, told the mother the bruises were from rough-housing with his own 2-year-old son, who visited their apartment a week before, according to court documents. Deputies showed the mother a photograph of the girl’s injuries and she said they were not there when she last saw her before going to work on Sunday.
When deputies interviewed Oquendo in a hospital hallway on Sunday, he said that while watching the child earlier in the day, the toddler hit him in the face and he “got upset” and punched her in the abdomen.
When questioned about the head injury, he told detectives the child had walked in front of him while he was sitting on a mattress in the apartment’s living room playing video games. He “lost control of himself” and threw his right hand in a back-handed motion with “such force that she ended up flipping over and falling to the floor,” deputies wrote in court documents.
Oquendo told deputies he checked to see if the girl was OK and then she fell asleep next to him on the bed. When she woke up, she squeezed his finger and her eyes rolled back and she “began having a seizure,” according to court documents. He then called 911 and the child’s mother.
Oquendo was arrested Sunday in connection with the assault. He has no prior criminal history in Spokane County.
During a court appearance Monday afternoon, Oquendo’s public defender requested his bond be no more than $5,000. He noted Oquendo has a “spotty” job history and last worked about a month ago.
“Realistically, Mr. Oquendo could not afford any bond amount,” the attorney said. “He only has $80 to his name.”
Judge Annette Plese balked at the request, noting the severity of the charge against Oquendo before setting his bond at $150,000.
S-R reporter Chad Sokol contributed to this story.
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