The Washington Post

Montgomery Police: 7-month-old girl was asphyxiated

A 7-month-old Montgomery County girl who police say was killed by her 14-year-old brother last week died of asphyxiation, according to prosecutors who spoke in court Monday.

The suspect, Jonathan Aguiluc, made his first courtroom appearance Monday, speaking over a video feed from the county jail. Draped in dark green inmate clothes, Aguiluc looked tiny compared with the series of adult suspects appearing before and after him. His attorney, Mary Siegfried, told District Court Judge Karla Smith that he had never been in legal trouble before and that he took care of his infant sister at night while their mother worked.

“He has had no prior contact with the Department of Juvenile Services,” Siegfried said. “He is not a problem in school. He goes to school every day.”

Smith ordered Aguiluc to be transferred to a juvenile detention facility but held without bond.

Police say Aguiluc killed his sister sometime Thursday night or Friday morning inside an apartment in the White Oak section of Silver Spring. Another child, a 3-year-old girl, was also home at the time.

In arrest documents, detectives said the children’s mother left for work at 10:30 p.m. At some point, Aguiluc beat his sister and then covered her mouth and nose with his hands, police said. The detectives also wrote that there were “suspicious injuries” on the infant’s face, chest, back and buttocks. On Monday, prosecutors said the injuries were inflicted by insects.

“They were bug bites that occurred after the child died,” Montgomery State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.

The children’s mother returned from work at 5:30 a.m. Friday. She saw the girl, Larissa Yanes, in a car seat in the living room of their apartment, according to charging documents. She thought Larissa was asleep. A half-hour later, she tried to wake the baby to feed her but found her unresponsive, according to the police. Paramedics were called, and they took the child to Holy Cross Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 6:54 a.m., according to police.

Detectives interviewed Aguiluc, who said that he beat his sister, which made her cry, according to police. So he placed his hands on the baby’s nose and mouth, restricting her breathing, detectives alleged. At that point, the child stopped crying. Aguiluc carried her in his arms around the apartment, placed her in the car seat and went into a bedroom, police said. Detectives charged Aguiluc with first-degree murder, which by law requires them to charge him as an adult.

Prosecutors are working with detectives to decide whether Aguiluc should ultimately be charged with first- or second-degree murder, indicating that the crime might not have been premeditated. Siegfried, the boy’s attorney, said she would move to transfer the case to the juvenile court system if it doesn’t happen automatically by virtue of a lesser charge.

Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
This isn't your daddy's gun club
A look inside the world of Candomblé
It's in the details: Five ways to enhance your kitchen makeover
Play Videos
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
The rise and fall of baseball cards
Is fencing the answer to brain health?
Play Videos
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
How to prevent 'e-barrassment'
The art of tortilla-making
Play Videos
Circus nuns: These sisters are no act
How hackers can control your car from miles away
How the new credit card chip makes purchases more secure

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.