Moroni couple charged with abusing, killing 2-year-old daughter

Dec 30, 2022, 5:17 PM

police tape...

A Moroni couple were booked into the Sanpete County Jail and charged Friday with child abuse homicide in the death of their 2-year-old daughter.

MORONI, Utah — A Moroni couple were charged Friday with killing their 2-year-old daughter according to a report at

Juan Castillo, 51, and Anyi Nicol Canales Cruz, 22, are charged in 6th District Court with child abuse homicide, a first-degree felony, and child abuse, a third-degree felony. Castillo also faces an additional charge of drug possession, a class A misdemeanor.

On Thursday, a 2-year-old girl was taken to a hospital and was pronounced dead a short time later. Doctors contacted the Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office after discovering signs of abuse.

“I was informed an X-ray showed the juvenile had previously had broken ribs that were healed or were healing. I was also told a large amount of bruising was observed over her body that had occurred recently. I was also told there was a cut under her chin and a few other small cuts around her body,” the arresting deputy wrote in a police booking affidavit.

When Cruz was questioned by police, she admitted that both she and Castillo, who is the girl’s stepfather, had recently abused their daughter, the affidavit states. Castillo allegedly told police that he “recently struck the juvenile but not to the extent he would have caused injuries,” but also claimed that she was a “clumsy girl and would regularly hit her head on her bed frame.”

When detectives searched the couple’s home, they found a large amount of children and adult medication.

“It was stated medication was regularly given to the juvenile. Juan’s wife at one point stated she gave enough medication to the juvenile that she quickly fell asleep. It is believed at this time after speaking with Juan and his wife that large amounts of medication may have contributed to the death of the juvenile,” the affidavit alleges.

The arrest report further states that Cruz, who has ties to Honduras, “had an incident in 2016 where the offense is described as alien removal.” Cruz would have been 16 at the time.

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Moroni couple charged with abusing, killing 2-year-old daughter