COLE CAMP, Mo. -- A 27-year-old man was charged with second degree murder and child abuse in the death of a two-year-old girl in Cole Camp, Mo.
The Division of Family Services notified police of the child's death on Dec. 1. Benton County Sheriff Rick Fajen requested the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control to assist with the investigation into the death of two-year-old Mia Aguilar.
Their investigation led to the arrest of Rafael Alejo Rodriguez, 27, of Cole Camp, Mo. Police said Rodriguez is an acquaintance of the child's mother. He was watching the children on Saturday. Aguilar's older brother told an investigator that Alejo Rodriguez hit his sister in the stomach.
Hours later, her mother noticed she was vomiting and having difficulty breathing. That's when she took her to the hospital in Sedalia. Aguilar was then transferred to Children's Mercy in Kansas City. She died Tuesday morning.
The case hit the investigators hard.
"Anytime it involves a child, something like this, makes our job more difficult," said Sgt. Bill Lowe, Missouri Highway Patrol spokesperson. "We know people who have kids, investigating something like this and dealing with it is difficult."
Alejo is currently being held in the Benton County jail. He will be back in court on December 18.