Toddler Bit and Killed by Mom’s Teen Boyfriend: Cops

An Indiana woman, 23, and her 16-year-old male companion have been apprehended and charged in connection with the death of the woman’s 4-year-old daughter, in a case that law enforcement officials have labeled as deeply unsettling. Destiny F. Rhoades and Christian T. Gonzalez are both facing serious charges related to the death of Octavia Aquino, according to official reports. Rhoades is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, while Gonzalez is charged with murder. Initially, Gonzalez was charged with battery resulting in serious bodily injury, but his case was transferred from juvenile to adult court following his initial appearance.

The Evansville Police Department reported that officers responded to an emergency call at a residence on Spring Valley Road on the morning of June 14. The call was made by one of three other adult women living in the house with Rhoades, Gonzalez, and Octavia. The caller reported finding the child unresponsive and beyond help.

Upon arrival, first responders found the child, later identified as Octavia, cold to the touch. The Evansville Fire Department arrived shortly after and began attempts to resuscitate Octavia before she was transported to a local hospital. At the hospital, Octavia was alive but showed minimal brain activity, according to authorities.

Rhoades was at work when her daughter was found. She stated that she left the house before 7 a.m. and Octavia was asleep at the time. Rhoades and the three other women living in the apartment were taken to the police station for questioning. Gonzalez was not questioned due to his age.

According to a statement from one of the roommates, she had noticed bruises on Octavia’s body the previous day, particularly around her neck. The child also had a human bite mark on her forearm. It was reported that Gonzalez admitted to biting the child, but claimed it was in response to the child biting him first. The roommate also reported that Octavia seemed to be in a daze and was nauseous while under Rhoades’ care the previous night. None of these incidents were reported to law enforcement or medical personnel at the time.

Police reports indicate that Gonzalez, referred to as Rhoades’ boyfriend, had come to Evansville with Rhoades earlier in the year when he was 15. Gonzalez had previously been reported missing from his home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and was detained by police in Evansville in February. He was placed in a youth home, from which he promptly escaped. When he was found again, he was with Rhoades at her residence.

Rhoades was previously arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. After her release from jail, she returned to Fort Wayne until her court date in mid-April. Around the same time, Gonzalez went missing again, coinciding with Rhoades’ return to Evansville for court. Both Rhoades and Gonzalez are currently being held at the Vanderburgh County Confinement Center without bond.