CRIME

Teen charged with suffocating sister sent to residential treatment facility

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It’s one of those cases where nobody wins and everybody cries.

After her 14-year-old son was sent to a juvenile residential treatment facility for killing her 7-month-old daughter, Gloria Yanes sobbed and sought comfort with her priest and friends one of whom spoke for the shattered family.

“It’s very, very sad, like when I found out the news it broke my heart to relive what happened,” Yanes says.

It was back in February when the boy was charged with first degree murder as an adult. He admitted to police he smothered his baby sister. And when police learned many of the apparent injuries on the child were actually post mortem insect bites, the case was moved back to juvenile court.

Larissa's official cause of death was classified as asphyxia.

In closed hearings, the boy was found guilty, or “involved” as they call it in the juvenile system, to charges of involuntary manslaughter.

On Tuesday, a judge allowed the public and press back in to hear the now 15-year-old's sentence. Neighbors say the judge got it right.

“I think the sentence for the boy is appropriate because he’s not incarcerated in jail not getting the help he needs,” says Michelle Foster.

She is sympathetic because at the time of the killing the boy, a recent immigrant from El Salvador was responsible for babysitting not only the 7-month-old but also a 3-year-old sister for hours and days on end while his mother worked.

She says she couldn't afford a sitter.

The teen was originally suspected of beating his sister as well, but further investigation discovered that injuries to her upper body were a result of insect bites. Officials say the apartment where the family lived was infested with bugs.

In earlier reports, ABC7 identified the teen because he was being tried as an adult. However, ABC7 is not naming the teen since he is no longer in the adult criminal justice system.

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