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Father charged in death of 2-year-old CT boy found dead in shallow grave

The father of a 2-year-old Connecticut boy found buried in a shallow grave has been charged in connection with the toddler’s death, police said Wednesday.

Edgar Ismalej-Gomez, 28, was charged with cruelty to persons, two counts of tampering with evidence, risk of injury to a minor, hindering prosecution and conspiracy to tamper with evidence, the Stamford Police Department said.

Ismalej-Gomez was not charged with murder. He was already behind bars for a probation violation as cops investigated the case.

The 2-year-old boy, Liam Rivera, was found dead in a plastic bag and buried in a shallow grave in Stamford’s Cummings Park on Jan. 2, 2023. The medical examiner later ruled his death a homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head.

Ismalej-Gomez was arrested on Jan. 3 and held on the probation violation.

Officers found the boy after the child’s mother, Iris Rivera-Santos, called police. Rivera-Santos told authorities that Ismalej-Gomez had held her at gunpoint for four days while they drove back and forth to West Virginia.

However, investigators began doubting Rivera-Santos’ story. In February 2023, she was arrested and charged with cruelty to persons, evidence tampering, risk of injury to a minor and hindering prosecution. Neither parent has been charged with murder.

At the time of Rivera’s death, his parents had a case against them in the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, and authorities issued a protective order attempting to stop Ismalej-Gomez from seeing his son, according to local ABC affiliate WTNH.

Connecticut DCF was contacted after Ismalej-Gomez and Rivera-Santos took their son to a hospital and claimed he was injured falling from his bed, according to the Hartford Courant. Hospital employees determined the injury, diagnosed as a spinal fracture, did not come from a fall.

Ismalej-Gomez was also charged in August 2021 with assault, cruelty and risk of injury for breaking the child’s arm, the Stamford Advocate reported. He pleaded guilty and served just 60 days of a five-year prison sentence.


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