The Homicide Report

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Pasadena: Rene Torres, 2

August 22, 2009 |  3:05 pm

Location of Rene Torres' death.Rene Torres, a 2 year-old Latino, was found dead in a home in the 500 block of N. Summit Ave. in Pasadena early Tuesday, Aug. 18, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Prosecutors filed murder and torture charges the next day against the boy's mother, Maria Jesus Pelaez, a 29-year-old Latina, and Gabriel Diaz, a 32 year-old Latino. The couple lived together in the home where the boy was found, authorities said.

Coroner's officials had not yet released a cause of death for the boy, but prosecutors allege he had been tortured by the couple since July 18.

Pasadena police said Rene's feet, legs and arms had been taped on the night of Monday, Aug. 17, and he died of asphyxiation at some time during the night.

Pelaez called 911 at 6 a.m. Tuesday to report that the toddler had stopped breathing. Police said that she and Diaz admitted in interviews that they had been restraining Rene with tape for months as a form of discipline.

Pelaez and Diaz face life terms without the possibility of parole if convicted on the charges filed. Los Angeles County jail records indicate each is being held in lieu of $2-million bail. They are scheduled to appear in court again on Sept. 3.

Pasadena police have made tapes of the 911 calls available on their website.

--Megan Garvey

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