Hunt County caregivers charged in Dallas toddler's death

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on July 19, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 19 at 8:31 PM

HUNT COUNTY — A Hunt County couple is charged with capital murder for the death of two-year-old Brandon Herrera.

Arturo Aguilar Vega, 23, and his 22-year-old girlfriend Gabriela Ortiz are being held on $2 million bond at the Hunt County Jail.

The couple called police Sunday morning to report that Brandon, who is Ortiz's cousin, was not breathing.

The couple was caring for him at the time, but investigators said the child's body showed signs of horrible abuse.

Brandon died of massive blunt force trauma, but investigators are not being specific about what happened to him.

On Tuesday, the Hunt County community planned a candlelight vigil for the toddler.

Geoff Morgan, a county paramedic, was one of the first responders on the scene and is helping to organize the vigil.

"It just touched me knowing that a child had to go through that," Morgan said. "My main goal after a day or so was to get a large group of people out here show there's care."

Brandon Herrera was from Dallas. It's not clear why he was in the care of his cousin.

Over the last year, Brandon and his mother stayed with Vanessa Nuncio.

"It hurts; this is really unfortunate," she said. "We saw him grow up."

Brandon's  third birthday was coming up in August, and family members were planning a celebration.

Now, friends say, the toddler is in a better place — one where he is longer suffering.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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