The Murder of Mercedes Losoya, 5

On February 10, 2022, Katrina Mendoza, 22 and her boyfriend Jose Ruiz, 25, were arrested for the death of Mercedes Losoya, who sustained abuse for several weeks before her death. The abuse took place in Ruiz’s home in San Antonio, Texas.

Background

On February 7, 2022, Katrina Mendoza, 22, brought her unresponsive daughter, Mercedes Losoya, 5, to the hospital. She had extensive bruising and injuries to her body, evident to the hospital staff that she had been extremely abused.

 

Police were called and brought Mendoza in for questioning. Mendoza told police she had called her boyfriend, Jose Ruiz, 25, to help her discipline Mercedes. Ruiz picked up Mercedes and brought her back to his house. Mendoza video called with Ruiz later that day and saw Mercedes holding a “heavy object” crying in the background. According to police reports, Mendoza would let a few days go by before seeing her daughter. When she did, Mendoza told police she had cuts on her inner thighs and bruising on her face.

 

 

Around this time, Mendoza, Mercedes, and an unnamed 6-year-old had moved into Ruiz’s house. According to Mendoza, the punishment had worsened and turned into abuse, which lasted for three weeks before resulting in her death.  

Abuse & Murder

Mendoza told police she witnessed Ruiz put dog feces in her mouth as he verbally abused her. Ruiz also placed a sock soaked in urine into Mercedes’s, which he yanked out of her mouth with enough force that he knocked out two of her teeth. Mendoza also told investigators she witnessed Ruiz hit Mercedes with a belt and his hands, which were adorned with rings. Mercedes’s body was covered in bruises and cuts, several toenails, and patches of hair were missing.

The 6-year-old unnamed child had told police the same story Mendoza did, though Ruiz denied abusing Mercedes and stated he only slapped her buttocks, and Merced’s 6-year-old sister was responsible for the missing hair patches.

Attempts to Help?

Neighbors who shared a wall with the apartment where the child was killed told news outlets they heard beating sounds for the past weeks. The neighbors called police multiple times to report what they were hearing. They also told news outlets that they say Mendoza kick the girl in her head, which she also reported to the police. The last time they called the police, they did a welfare check, but when nobody answered the door, they left.

Relatives also told police and CPS about the ongoing child abuse but were not able to get the child removed from the home. News4 asked the SAPD about the claims and stated there was not a record showing they have responded to any claims of child abuse at the couple’s known address. The news outlet added that there may have been additional addresses the couple were staying at and the SAPD was looking to see if the police had been called to any of these locations.

Other news outlets who spoke with the family reported that Mercedes was abused for her entire life, starting just weeks after she was born. Mercedes great-aunt, Emily Losoya, told the news outlet that Mendoza would tell her that she did not feel she had a bond with Mercedes. Mercedes’ father told the same news outlet that he had not seen his daughters since October; Mendoza would not let him.

Arrests

Mendoza and Ruiz were both arrested on Thursday, February 10, 2022. They are both charged with one count of injury to a child – serious bodily injury. They are both due back in court on March 15, 2022.  According to court records, Mendoza had a court date May 4, 2022, for driving while intoxicated, which she was arrested for on August 22, 2021.

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