Brandon Lee Cervera San Antonio father arrested in the starvation death of his 4 year old son after video on cellphone shows ongoing acts of abuse.
Brandon Lee Cervera, 28, was arrested on Thursday and charged with injury to a child causing death following the August, 2021 death of a 4-year-old Benjamin Cervera.
The father’s arrest this week follows the discovery of incriminating video on a cell phone showing that the boy had intentionally and deliberately been abused at the hands of his father KSAT reported.
The father’s arrest comes six months after Brandon Cervera brought the unconscious boy to the emergency room at San Antonio Children’s Hospital on August 17, 2021. According to a probable affidavit, a nurse called 911 and told police that a boy had just been taken to the Emergency Room in a potentially abusive condition.
The boy was observed to have many bruises in various healing states and appeared extremely emaciated. He was also wearing a disposable diaper, which authorities noted was unusual for a baby less than two months old, KABB reported.
Father insisted boys wounds were self inflicted
Paramedics attempted to resuscitate the child but their efforts were unsuccessful and Benjamin was pronounced dead minutes after arriving at the facility. San Antonio Police Department homicide detectives responded to the scene and similarly noted that Benjamin appeared to be severely malnourished and had persistent bruising indicating physical abuse.
Homicide investigators interviewed Cervera, who allegedly testified that all of his son’s injuries were self-inflicted. The father allegedly stated that a family member staying at his apartment had cell phone video proving that Benjamin had harmed himself.
The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s office conducted an autopsy and in an initial report determined that Benjamin’s injuries were not self-inflicted; they were the result of physical abuse, and not the cause of his death, KABB reported. The medical examiner later concluded that Benjamin had starved to death.
Detectives obtained and executed a search warrant for Cervera’s apartment, where they reportedly discovered evidence of abuse Benjamin suffered at the hands of Cervera.
Inside the apartment, the kitchen cabinets, pantry doors and refrigerator were found to be locked, in a bid to prevent Benjamin from getting to food, according to KABB.
A padlock outside Benjamin’s bedroom door also appeared to have been used to lock the child inside. The boy’s bedroom contained a single mattress contaminated with urine.
But there was more to come.
Recording ongoing acts of cruelty
According to KABB, a cell phone seized from a relative who was staying at the apartment contained distressing videos and photos that further demonstrated abuse. One reported video shows Benjamin ‘smashing his own head with his hand and begging for bread’. Benjamin appeared in another photo ‘severely bruised and with swollen eyes.’
Another video showed Cervera and a relative refusing to give Benjamin food while the boy ‘shaking uncontrollably, crying and begging for bread and water’. In yet another video, Benjamin is forced to ‘eat bread crumbs on the bathroom floor without using his hands.’
Other videos included the boy being forced to drink hand sanitizer as well as another which recorded Benjamin pleading for water while saying his mouth was burned, KABB reported.
Cervera remained held in the Bexar County Jail with bail set at $500,000 according to online records. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 29.
Family members whose phones were seized have not been charged in Benjamin’s death.