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November 20, 2017

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Court document details alleged neglect that led to 12-year-old’s death in 2012

A biological mother’s suspicions about her 12-year-old son’s death a year ago triggered an investigation that last month resulted in the boy’s stepmother being charged with murder.

Kalinda W. Mercado was charged April 19 in Las Vegas Justice Court with murder in the Feb. 4, 2012, death of Emmanuel Mercado.

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office released a document Wednesday that detailed findings of a Metro Police investigation after Emmanuel’s death from a ruptured appendix.

According to a declaration by Metro:

Officials at Emmanuel’s school on Jan. 27, 2012, had urged Kalinda Mercado, Emmanuel’s stepmother, to take the boy to see a doctor after Emmanuel had vomited and complained to the school nurse’s office of severe stomach pains. Kalinda Mercado did not pick up the boy from school, and Emmanuel rode the bus home as normal.

On Monday, Jan. 30, the boy was taken to the school nurse’s office again, this time with an elevated temperature and complaining of severe stomach pain. The school nurse suspected appendicitis. Again, Kalinda Mercado was called.

When reached, Kalinda Mercado claimed the boy was trying to get out of class. The school nurse explained the seriousness of appendicitis to Kalinda Mercado, who had arrived to pick up Emmanuel. Kalinda Mercado told the nurse she had called the doctor and given the boy Tylenol as instructed.

On Thursday, Feb. 2, a day after Emmanuel had vomited after dinner, Kalinda Mercado called the doctor’s office and scheduled a wellness check in April for Emmanuel. No mention was made of the boy’s condition.

On Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, Emmanuel visited to the nurse’s office shortly after school began. He appeared dehydrated and weak, with pale skin and blue fingertips. School officials called Kalinda Mercado and told her she needed to get the boy to a doctor. Kalinda Mercado took the boy home and scheduled an appointment for 3:45 p.m., even though earlier appointments were available.

While getting into the car to go to the doctor’s office that afternoon, Emmanuel went into full cardiac arrest. Emergency responders transported Emmanuel to University Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery.

The boy died Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012.

The boy’s biological mother requested an autopsy, which was performed on the day of Emmanuel’s death. The coroner’s report said the cause of death was peritonitis due to a ruptured appendix due to acute appendicitis. The coroner said medical neglect was a contributing factor and ruled the death as a homicide.

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