'Something was wrong:' Calgary trial hears boy could barely walk before he died
CALGARY - A flea market vendor told a Calgary manslaughter trial Monday that he was so troubled by the sight of a shuffling five-year-old with a head bandage that he called social workers.
Allan Perdomo Lopez, who is 59, is charged in the July 2015 death of his grandson Eneas Emilio Perdomo, who went by Emilio.
Pablo Palomera testified that he sometimes saw Perdomo Lopez, his wife Carolina Perdomo, their daughters and Emilio at a weekly market where he sold retro video games and collectibles.
Palomera was first introduced to Perdomo Lopez because they both speak Spanish and he recalled him mentioning he was going to adopt a boy from Mexico.
The first time Perdomo Lopez showed up with Emilio in tow, Palomera said he remembered the child being quiet and afraid. The boy seemed to look up at Carolina Perdomo for approval before speaking, Palomera said.
He testified that over time he became more concerned about the boy.
“I had an intuition that something was wrong.”
Palomera said he called Child Protective Services when he saw Emilio at the market one Sunday in the spring or summer of 2015 and the boy could barely walk. Palomera made a shuffling motion in the witness stand to show how the boy was moving.
Palomera folded up a tissue into a square to demonstrate what a bandage looked like on the back, left side of Emilio's head.
“I was so sad,” Palomera said, pausing to wipe tears from his eyes.
“I just wish I could have saved him.”
Police have said the boy was taken to hospital in July 2015 with swelling and bruising all over his body.
An autopsy determined he died from multiple blunt-force trauma.
The accused's wife was originally charged in the case but the Crown stayed the manslaughter charge against her in February.
Emilio's maternal grandmother testified by video from the Canadian embassy in Mexico City through a Spanish interpreter.
Marisol Segovia-Alvarez said the boy lived with her from when he was a newborn until he was about five, and he had no health issues.
She had a relationship with Perdomo Lopez decades ago, she explained, and they had a daughter, Melody Segovia, who was Emilio's biological mother. Segovia-Alvarez said the boy's father “did not assume responsibility,” so her daughter and newborn grandson came to live with her and her other children.
“I took charge of Emilio as a mother. Emilio, for me, was more a son than a grandson,” she said, describing the boy as intelligent, friendly and obedient.
Segovia-Alvarez said her daughter and grandson moved out of the home against her wishes in August 2014 - six months before he came to Canada.
The trial also heard from a Calgary pediatrician who did a routine physical exam on Emilio nearly four months before he died.
Ernesto Pineda-Selva testified the boy's height and weight were average and that he had no health issues. The only concerns his guardians raised were sweaty hands and feet.
“He was a really nice boy, a nice-looking kid. He was kind of shy,” Pineda-Selva recalled, adding the boy was well-dressed and clean.
Pineda-Selva was shown photos in court of Emilio in hospital with several tubes attached to his body and dark bruises all over his legs and arms. The doctor was also shown a photo of the boy face-down with several small crescent-shaped and round scars visible on his back.
Pineda-Selva testified none of those injuries were visible during his exam of Emilio.
The judge-alone trial is scheduled to last four weeks.