Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | 3:35 p.m.
A 28-year-old Las Vegas man was arrested Tuesday in connection with first-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son on Friday.
Diego Noche-Buena was booked into the Clark County Detention Center after police said he struck the toddler, identified as Axel Caro, on the head, causing him to develop an acute cerebral hemorrhage and die.
Officers responded to the home in the 2000 block of North Christy Lane about 10:30 p.m. Friday to reports of an unresponsive child. The boy was taken to North Vista Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to an arrest report.
Noche-Buena told police he was watching Axel at the house while his mother was at work. He said he heard the boy gagging in his bedroom and went to check on him, the report said.
He told police he saw the boy convulsing and moved him to the living room, where he began to shake and pat him on the back. The toddler then vomited and became unresponsive. Noche-Buena then went to a neighbor’s house to dial 911, police said.
Both parents agreed to a polygraph test, but Noche-Buena told one officer, prior to the exam, that he struck the child on the top of the head, police said. He said he became angry with the boy because he wouldn’t take his medicine and sleep, so he hit him.
After hitting him on top of the head, the boy went to sleep, he told police.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office hasn’t released an official cause of death but told police they found two broken clavicles and undocumented bruises on the child. The coroner’s report said the boy’s death didn't appear to be caused by abuse or neglect, but did note injuries to Axel’s head.
The report said the bruise on the child’s head could be explained by a fall from a tall chair, however, other bruises on Axel’s face and back couldn’t. An autopsy found the boy had several old bruises and that a brain injury that led to his death.
Noche-Buena and the boy's mother told officers Axel had scraped or bumped his head on the wall four days before his death, the report said. The mother described the bruise on the front of Axel’s forehead, but Noche-Buena said it was on the right side of his head.
The mother also told police her son was developing minor congestion on July 9 and she gave him some ibuprofen. Other than that, he was in good health, she said.
Noche-Buena is scheduled to appear Thursday for a 48-hour hearing. He is being held without bail.