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Records: Toddler sustained injuries prior to allegedly falling down stairs

Samantha Lee Gonzalez, 27, was charged with criminal negligent homicide after her two-year-old daughter, Katalina Desiree Castaneda, allegedly fell down the stairs. (Photo courtesy of the Harlingen Police Department)

An autopsy conducted on April 20 revealed that a Harlingen toddler sustained injuries prior to allegedly falling down the stairs, according to a criminal complaint.

Katalina Desiree Castaneda, 2, died on April 19, as CBS 4 News previously reported.

Harlingen police responded to the 1800 block of South 3rd St. around 4:30 p.m. on April 19 in reference to a child not breathing, according to the criminal complaint.

Upon arrival, officers learned that Castaneda had already been transferred to a local hospital after allegedly falling down the stairs.

Phone records show that 27-year old Samantha Lee Gonzalez called her mother-in-law after the incident, and waited for her for 16 minutes before calling 911, according to the criminal complaint.

An autopsy conducted on April 20 revealed that injuries sustained prior to Castaneda’s alleged fall contributed to her death, according to the criminal complaint. A local doctor stated in the autopsy that Castaneda’s injuries were not caused by a fall from the stairs, and “that the only way Katalina could suffer such an injury was if Katalina was ‘punched, kicked, squeezed or stomped with great force to the abdomen,” according to the criminal complaint. The criminal complaint also stated that a bald spot was found on Castaneda’s head that doctors believe came from “someone pulling her hair repeatedly.”

On April 25, doctors reported to police that “a ruptured liver and ruptured kidney had happened hours before the fall was reported”, according to the criminal complaint.

The official cause of death was listed as a “blunt force trauma to the abdomen”, according to the criminal complaint.

Gonzalez turned herself in on Saturday to Harlingen police after a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Gonzalez was charged with criminal negligent homicide, a state jail felony.

A judge set bond at $30,000.

Gonzalez was released from custody the same day.

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