Updated 03/19/2013 06:17 PM
New Paltz man charged with murder in child's death
A New Paltz man was arraigned on a charge of second-degree murder for the death of a two-year-old child last year. YNN's Alexandra Weishaupt has the story.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
NEW PALTZ, N.Y. -- “This death to Asia was violent,” said New Paltz Police Chief Joseph Snyder.
It was a hot afternoon last June when police were called to a home on Route 32. Asia Perez-Medina, 2, was unresponsive outside with her aunt. Prosecutors say the toddler’s uncle, Joseph Rodriguez, killed her by blunt force trauma. Now, on a snowy March morning, he faces charges.
"This gentleman was our person of interest right that afternoon. That afternoon we developed a suspicion that he was the person that committed this horrendous crime,” said Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright.
The toddler who was from the Dominican Republic had been staying with her relatives for some time, and was due to return home in July.
“We haven’t been able to learn the actual motive behind it. Whether it was anger or other substances that may have led to this,” said Snyder
Police say Rodriguez fled to North Carolina following the murder and later moved to Newburgh where he was arrested by city police.
“It’s a case that we have never stopped working on. There’s been a lot of work done on the file since then, a lot of forensic work,” said Carnright. “A troubling case, very troubling case, very sad case.”
Police now hoping the arrest will help the toddler’s family begin their healing process for a life taken far too soon.
“I’m just hoping that this will bring some closure for the family. Our thoughts and prayers have been with them since this,” said Snyder. “I’m glad we could bring this to a close.”
Police say Rodriguez is a convicted felon having served several years in prison for manslaughter. He was assigned a court appointment attorney who declined to comment at this time. He's expected back in court on April 30th.