Teen Accused of Killing 4-Year-Old Girl After Police Find Bite Marks on Child

"She’s just one of the happiest, always smiling, full of life, spunky little girls that I’ve ever met in my life," the victim's grandmother said

<p>Vanderburgh County Jail; Evansville Police Department</p> Destiny Rhoades and Christian Gonzalez

Vanderburgh County Jail; Evansville Police Department

Destiny Rhoades and Christian Gonzalez

A young Indiana girl died Sunday after her mother’s teenage boyfriend allegedly bit her on her arm, say authorities.

On Friday, June 14, police in Evansville were called to the Spring Valley Road apartment of Destiny Rhoades, 23, who said her daughter, Octavia Aquino, 4, was unresponsive and "beyond help," the Evansville Police Department said in a news release on Facebook.

The officer who initially responded to the call described the little girl as “cold to the touch," the release states.

The Evansville Fire Department arrived on the scene and immediately began working to revive the child. She was transported to a local hospital "alive" but with "very little brain activity," according to Evansville police.

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Rhoades was at work when her daughter was found unresponsive, police said. Her boyfriend, Christian T. Gonzalez, 16, of Fort Wayne, was inside the apartment with three other adult women who live there when Octavia was found, police said in a follow-up release on Monday (June 17).

The four adult residents were transported to police headquarters where they were interviewed by detectives. Gonzalez was not initially interviewed due to his age, the release states.

Rhoades told police that when she left for work at 7 a.m. that morning, Octavia was sleeping, police said.

"A roommate stated that she noticed the child had bruises on her body (on Thursday,) specifically around her neck area," the release says. "She also had a human bite mark on her forearm. Detectives were told the 16-year-old boyfriend admitted he bit the child, but only after she bit him first."

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After that, one of the roommates told police that Octavia "seemed to be ‘staring off and was nauseous’ while in Rhoades’ care last night," the release states.

Rhoades was arrested and initially charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, police said. That charge was changed to neglect of a dependent resulting in death when the child died on Sunday, police said.

Gonzalez first appeared in juvenile court on Monday and has been waived to adult court.

Authorities originally charged Gonzalez as an adult with battery resulting in serious injury before charging him with murder.

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An autopsy has been scheduled to take place later this week.

As authorities continue to investigate, Octavia’s family is grappling with her death.

“I feel lost,” Octavia’s grandmother Linda Alvarez said, local station WFIE reports. “I feel broken. She’s just one of the happiest, always smiling, full of life, spunky little girls that I’ve ever met in my life.”

“I don’t understand how anyone can hurt an innocent little baby,” Alvarez told WFIE. “She’s four.”

It is unclear whether Rhoades and Gonzalez have retained attorneys who can speak on their behalf.

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