It took hours of searching in the Colorado wilderness but eventually Nickolle Aguilar, 26, led investigators to the spot.
Down a deep ravine near Rocky Mountain State Park, close to a campsite where she and her boyfriend, Daniel Garcia, had camped out nearly a month before, laid the body of her young son, according to details in an arrest warrant written Friday.
Aguilar and Garcia brought his body with them to Colorado, packed with the rest of their luggage, traveling miles and miles from the San Antonio, Texas, hotel where police say he died after a beating from Garcia.
The couple buried him there on July 25, then fled to Costa Rica, investigators say. But on August 25, Aguilar was back at the site with police, to “do the right thing,” the document says.
A month had passed since his unceremonious burial. Nature and the elements had opened up the grave, according to the warrant, but Aguilar remembered the location, recognized her son’s clothes — the same outfit he died in.
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Domenic Aguilar-Acevedo, 5, had been beaten by his stepfather many times, his mother told investigators, and in the three weeks since arriving in San Antonio the abuse was “extensive.”
Aguilar didn’t try to stop it, she told police. She was “too eager to be in a relationship with a man,” the document says.
On the night of July 24, Garcia struck Domenic so hard he was “thrown” into a hotel room wall by the force of the blow, “bounced off” and hit the ground, the document says. He was in pain, his mother recounted, and began “vomiting a black and brown liquid substance.”
Soon after, hotel surveillance cameras captured Garcia “carrying what appeared to be (his) lifeless body … out of the room and down the stairway,” according to documents.
In a few hours Garcia and Aguilar were in Colorado, burying her boy.
Aguilar said she didn’t contact any authorities out of fear she would lose custody of her other children, investigators reported.
DOWN IN COSTA RICA
Unable to see or speak to any of her grandchildren, Aguilar’s mother became concerned. So concerned, police say, that she “tracked” her daughter down in Costa Rica and paid her a visit around August 16. But when she arrived, Domenic was missing.
Where was her grandson?
Aguilar told her Domenic suddenly fell ill, started vomiting and passed away unexpectedly. She and Garcia didn’t notify any authorities, Aguilar said, explaining that they buried him in a “remote location” in Colorado, then drove south past the Mexican border until they arrived in Costa Rica.
The grandmother contacted the San Antonio Police Department and the FBI. An FBI agent spoke with Aguilar in Costa Rica, and she shared the same story she told her mother, but also admitted that neither she nor Garcia sought medical help for her son when he was sick, the documents state.
Later, in an interview with police, Aguilar said that Garcia abused her son, and that he was beating him in the moments before his death.
In an arrest warrant, investigators allege that Garcia caused Domenic’s death, that Aguilar failed to seek medical attention for him and assisted in disposing of his body.
Authorities are awaiting autopsy results from the Larimer County Medical Examiner’s office in Colorado, but say that the remains show evidence of trauma.
Aguilar and Garcia are facing charges of injury to a child.