Paul John Tuncap Cruz, the father of a 1-year-old child who was allegedly beaten to death, pleaded not guilty to child abuse charges in the Superior Court of Guam. Cruz appeared in court on Monday morning following an indictment filed against him. The indictment charges him with child abuse in connection to the death of his 1-year-old son.
According to court documents, Cruz witnessed his girlfriend and the mother of the child, Giltinan Aldan Ramangmou, allegedly punching their son. Cruz observed that the child’s front teeth were missing and his eyes appeared swollen shut. He instructed Ramangmou to call the police. While Cruz was not initially charged as Ramangmou’s co-defendant, he was indicted as a co-defendant on November 9.
During his first court appearance, Cruz pleaded not guilty to charges of child abuse and failure to provide assistance. His attorney, Peter Santos, stated that Cruz remains released on a $3,000 personal recognizance bond. Cruz also waived his right to a speedy trial. Santos indicated that he will be seeking to have Cruz’s case severed from Ramangmou’s, potentially leading to separate trials.
Following Cruz’s arraignment hearing, Ramangmou appeared before Judge Vernon Perez for her first status hearing. Ramangmou had previously pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, aggravated assault, and child abuse. These charges stem from allegations that she punched her 1-year-old son, who was later found by officers with the Guam Police Department with severe head injuries and no signs of life.
When officers arrived at the scene, Ramangmou was allegedly crying hysterically and expressing remorse. She claimed that the child had fallen on his face while on the bed and that she had treated him by applying ice to his head. However, police noted multiple severe head injuries and signs of rigor mortis and livor mortis, suggesting a significant delay in contacting authorities.
The Guam Police Department was contacted approximately three hours after Cruz instructed Ramangmou to call. Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jeffrey Nine conducted an initial assessment of the child’s injuries and found them consistent with “battered baby syndrome.” He likened the injuries to those sustained by a child involved in a high-speed vehicle collision.
The case will proceed with separate trials for Cruz and Ramangmou, pending the court’s decision on the motion to sever.