Boy, formerly of Goleta, beat to death over birthday cake
July 17, 2015
A 9-year-old boy paid with his life for eating birthday cake that was supposed to go to the 2-year-old daughter of his mother’s boyfriend. [Chicago Tribune]
Oriana Iris Garcia, 26, took her son Jack Gacia out of elementary school in Goleta earlier this year to move in with a man in Maryland whom she met online. That man, 30-year-old Robert Wilson, allegedly beat Jack Garcia until he passed out.
The incident occurred on June 30, and Jack died in the hospital five days later. During the incident, the boy’s uncle Jacob Barajas handcuffed him to a chair, and the boy’s mother sent paramedics away when they initially came to assist Jack.
Both Oriana Garcia and Barajas, her brother, face charges of second-degree murder and first-degree child abuse. Wilson is charged with assault and child abuse, and he may face additional charges after an upcoming grand jury hearing.
During the four months that the Garcias lived in Wilson’s home, Wilson disciplined Jack by slapping him, sparring with him and smacking his legs with a bamboo sword. Oriana Garcia told investigators that Wilson would also use handcuffs to teach Jack not to steal.
Police say Jack’s mother planned and participated in some of the discipline. On the evening of the final beating, she turned away the paramedics while Jack lay critically injured, handcuffed and bound to a chair.
Oriana Garcia had never met Wilson in person prior to pulling Jack out of school and boarding a cross-country train in February.
Maragaret Saleh, assistant superintendent of pupil services in Goleta, said Jack was a a challenging kid who was smart, but stubborn and uncommunicative in his early years. But, by third grade, he was ready to soar, Saleh said.