An August 2004 photo of Jeremy Rosario Milan at his third birthday party in Springfield, Mass. The picture was released by the family.
updated 1/12/2005 8:06:41 PM ET 2005-01-13T01:06:41

A woman was charged Wednesday in the death of a 3-year-old boy who was allegedly raped and slain by a 12-year-old. Relatives and a friend said the woman was the mother of the older boy, who also has been charged.

District Attorney William Bennett said Marisol Alverio, 28, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on charges of murder and reckless endangerment of a child. She will be arraigned Thursday.

Earlier Wednesday, the 12-year-old was ordered held without bail following his arraignment on rape and murder charges; the juvenile court hearing was closed.

“The evidence gathered indicates that Marisol Alverio acted with malice in failing to protect the victim from someone whom she knew was abusing [the victim] and in failing to seek medical attention for an obviously injured 3-year-old child,” the prosecutor said.

Bennett did not reveal the relationship between Alverio and the 12-year-old, whose name was not released because of his age.

However, the victim’s aunts and a male friend of Alverio said she was the older boy’s mother. They said she was a family friend who had been caring for the preschooler while his parents were in Puerto Rico on family business.

Bennett would say only that the caregiver was not a member of the victim’s immediate family.

Three-year-old Jeremy Rosario Milan died Dec. 19, two days after he was hospitalized with bruises and a severe head injury. An autopsy showed he died from blunt force trauma to the brain.

‘What was she thinking?’
Bennett said Jeremy had been raped at least twice and beaten several times between Dec. 11 and Dec. 17.

The little boy’s aunts, Sandra Rivera and Maria Gautier, said outside court they blamed Alverio. “What was she thinking? She should be in here, not the child,” Rivera said shortly before the woman’s arrest.

The aunts described Alverio as a friend of Jeremy’s mother who had watched the child on other occasions without incident. “Jeremy liked going there,” Rivera said.

The 12-year-old’s family did not attend the arraignment. His lawyer, Alan Black, has declined to comment.

Family emergency
Denise Monteiro, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Social Services, said the victim’s parents, who have four other children, had gone to Puerto Rico to take care of a family emergency. They returned before he died.

“When the parents returned — devastated, of course — we rounded up the rest of the kids, because we wanted to ensure they were all right,” Monteiro said.

Family and friends said the parents, Alejandro Gautier and Maria Milan, were back in Puerto Rico, where they buried Jeremy; they were expected to return to Springfield this weekend.

The 12-year-old was initially charged with assault and pleaded innocent to the crime in juvenile court Dec. 20; he’s been in the custody of the state Department of Youth Services since then.

Under state law, juveniles convicted of murder can be held in state custody only until age 21.

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