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Gone: Kayla Garcia, 4, was beaten to death in May during a horrific disciplinary session for dropping a meatball out of her Subway sandwich, her mother has claimed
A four-year-old girl was beaten to death during a horrific punishment for dropping a meatball out of her Subway sandwich, her mother has claimed.
Melanie Garcia, 21, brought Kayla Garcia to San Antonio's Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital, where employees called Texas police when they saw the girl covered in bruises and cigarette burns.
She initially said the injuries were caused by a fall, but she now claims her then-boyfriend Matthew Carrillo, 23, beat the child to death merely for dropping food on the floor.
Accused: Melanie Garcia, 21, left, initially said the injuries were caused by a fall, but in court last week she claims her ex-boyfriend Matthew Carrillo, 23, right, beat the child to death for dropping food on the floor
The gruesome details were revealed when Miss Garcia gave evidence at a preliminary hearing for her ex-boyfriend Matthew Carrillo according to the San Antonio Express News
Both Carrillo and Garcia have been charged with causing serious bodily injury to a child after Kayla died from her injuries on May 9, 2012.
Prosecutors in Houston, Texas, said they are considering bringing capital murder charges that could lead to the death penalty.
Garcia told the court her boyfriend allegedly carried out the beating because her daughter had dropped a meatball from her sandwich as they walked home from a Subway restaurant. He had lived with the women for six months preceding the incident, officers told the MailOnline
She also said he was angry that she was walking too slow and when they reached home the punishment began.
Carrillo then had the child pull down her pants and underwear and brace herself against a couch.
Tragedy: Garcia brought Kayla Garcia to San Antonio's Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital, where employees called police when they saw the girl covered in bruises and cigarette burns
Home: Carrillo lived with the women for six months at this San Antonio address preceding the incident
Sandwich: Both Carrillo and Garcia have been charged with causing serious bodily injury to a child after Kayla died from her injuries on May 9, 2012
When the child threw herself to the floor as Carrillo struck her, he picked her up by one arm and began hitting her all over with his belt as she dangled in front of him, Garcia said.
He then had her lift a phone book and a box parallel to the ground for an extended period, Garcia said.
She claimed Carrillo slapped the child and pushed her to the ground, causing her to hit her head.
When Garcia was rushed to hospital after she stopped breathing doctors found her body covered in bruises, including on her genitals, a burn on her thigh and her retinas hemorrhaging.
Playful: Garcia also said Carrillo was angry at the girl for walking too slow and when they reached home the punishment began
Garcia said she told paramedics her daughter had hit her head after falling out of her toy wagon.
She told the court Carrillo had ordered her to lie to authorities and was terrified of him and his family.
'She used to tell him that he was her best friend,' Garcia said through tears of her daughter and Carrillo, who was living with them at the time of the death.
'It wasn't supposed to happen like this. I love my daughter.'
Lawyers for Carrillo said Garcia is bipolar and was cooperating with authorities to avoid any of the blame. She has two previous arrests for drug possession, documents show.
Garcia said she was told by prosecutors she could still face charges.
Beaten: Carrillo then had the child pull down her pants and underwear and brace herself against a couch
Child services were called to the couple's home in March of this year on child abuse accusations.
'We located the child and the mom, took photographs, interviewed the gentleman involved and we found nothing,' Mary Walker, an agency spokeswoman for Child Protective Services, said to the San Antonio Express News
'Although a case worker conducted a thorough investigation, no evidence of abuse was found at the time.'
The investigation occurred only two months before Kayla died.
'It's absolutely tragic,' Mrs Walker said. 'Sometimes we see what they want us to see. We rely on people to tell us what's true, and that doesn't always work out.'
Melanie Garcia was released from jail without bail after agreeing to submit to a lie detector test and to testify against Carrillo if necessary.
Carrillo's bid to be freed from jail due to lack of probable cause was denied by Magistrate Judge Andrew Carruthers, but he did order his bond reduced from $200,000 to $100,000.
Kayla was buried on May 16 in the San Fernando Cemetery.
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