Arrest made in suspicious toddler death - CBS 5 - KPHO

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Arrest made in suspicious toddler death

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© Xavier Becerra Martinez died of his injuries Friday. © Xavier Becerra Martinez died of his injuries Friday.
Manuel Gonzalez Manuel Gonzalez
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Police arrested the uncle of a 21-month-old boy who died of his injuries at Phoenix home near 71st Avenue and Lower Buckeye.

Manuel Antonio Gonzales, 24, is facing child abuse and first-degree murder charges.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. Friday, the Phoenix Fire Department was called to the home.

Larry Nunez with the Phoenix Fire Department said police were told the child, Xavier Becerra Martinez, was playing with a water hose along with other kids in the yard.

Firefighters thought there was something suspicious and called police.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said Xavier was in the care of Gonzales. Two other kids who were Gonzales' sons were also at the home. Gonzales' common-law wife Brenda Becerra-Rodriguez is the sister of Xavier's mother.

A neighbor called 911 and said the Gonzales was very upset and ran the child next door to get help.

"He was crying. He was like he didn't know what to do and he had the baby in his hands and like he fell down. He didn't fall down, but he went down on his knees and he was telling the firefighters to help him," said Gaby Ramos.

According to officials, Gonzales said the child was playing with a hose and drowned in a puddle of water. However, Thompson said injuries observed on the child and further injuries diagnosed at the hospital did not match this story. They were consistent with child abuse, he said.

According to the police report, there was wet clothing soiled with mug and vomit on the washing machine inside the home underneath some other clothing and there was also a bloody towel found in Gonzales' bedroom. He told police he didn't know about those items and did not place them there.

Xavier died at the hospital.

A neighbor said that the children play outside in the area all the time.

"I think it's always a shock and nobody likes to hear about when children are injured. I think it's a surprise to us and it shocks the community," said one neighbor.

Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on this developing story.

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