Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa man sought in death of girlfriend's son turns himself in

TAMPA — Michell Blanco, wanted on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse in the death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old son, turned himself in late Sunday.

In court Monday, Blanco's private attorney, Rick Hermida, told a judge that Blanco will plead not guilty to each charge.

The 3-year-old boy died May 24 from head trauma and other injuries while under Blanco's care, authorities said.

Blanco, 28, of Tampa, told the child's mother, Itzaira DeJesus, that the child's injuries were from a fall. But doctors told her it appeared he had been beaten.

DeJesus told the St. Petersburg Times that she returned to their home and found the boy motionless and struggling to breathe. She said Monday she was relieved that Blanco was arrested.

Sheriff's investigators questioned Blanco but let him go. He vanished. A few days later, on May 27, the Medical Examiner's Office declared the boy's death a homicide.

The Sheriff's Office then issued a warrant for Blanco's arrest.

Hermida said Blanco turned himself in Sunday. He would not say where Blanco had been or why he did not come forward sooner. Blanco declined an interview request Monday.

Blanco, who was born in Cuba, according to jail records, is a legal permanent resident of the United States, his attorney said Monday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators assisted the Sheriff's Office in searching for Blanco, although an agency spokeswoman would not say in what capacity.

When asked why the Sheriff's Office let Blanco go after the initial interview, spokeswoman Debbie Carter said the investigation had just started and deputies were waiting for an autopsy to determine cause of death.

During and after the interview, Blanco maintained his innocence, according to DeJesus.

Carter said deputies needed evidence that Blanco hurt the boy. "We could not speculate on the actual cause of death," Carter said. The detectives, she said, "have to be very methodical."

Times staff writer Dong-Phuong Nguyen contributed to this report.

Tampa man sought in death of girlfriend's son turns himself in 06/07/10 [Last modified: Monday, June 7, 2010 10:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Former owner of Sirata Beach Resort purchases two Tampa Bay shopping centers

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — After selling the Sirata Beach Resort and Conference in February, Nicklaus of Florida, Inc., has purchased two Tampa Bay shopping centers to diversify the firm's portfolio in the area. Colliers International, representing the sellers, announced the transaction this week.

    Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center, one of Tampa Bay's last family-owned beach hotels, was sold to a Texas-based company, Crescent Real Estate LLC for $108.19 million. [LARA CERRI | Times]
  2. Shania Twain arena tour includes Tampa stop this time

    Blogs

    Shania Twain is coming to Tampa as part of a major U.S. tour in support of her forthcoming (and long-awaited) new album Now.

    Shania Twain will play Amalie Arena in Tampa in 2018.
  3. In one day, fundraisers appear to reach goal to move Confederate monument from downtown Tampa

    Politics

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners gave an ultimatum Wednesday to people who want to move a Confederate monument from downtown Tampa: Raise the money yourselves or it stays. They had 30 days.

    It took 24 hours.

    Private money is flowing in to help move the Memoria in Aeterna Confederate monument from the old county courthouse to a private family cemetery. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  4. Who are the antifa?

    Nation

    On Monday, President Donald Trump capitulated to the popular demand that he distance himself from his comment that "many sides" were to blame in Charlottesville by explicitly denouncing white nationalism. "Racism is evil," he appeared to grudgingly concede, "including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists."

    A group of counterprotesters who identified themselves as antifa, or anti-fascists, rest Saturday during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va. Counterprotesters in Charlottesville came united against white supremacy, but they advocated a wide array of beliefs, tactics and goals. [Edu Bayer | New York Times]
  5. Lucky carrot: Alberta woman finds mother-in-law's lost ring

    Bizarre News

    CAMROSE, Alberta — A Canadian woman who lost her engagement ring 13 years ago while weeding her garden on the family farm is wearing it proudly again after her daughter-in-law pulled it from the ground on a misshapen carrot.

    In an undated photo provided by Iva Harberg, Mary Grams, 84, holds a carrot that grew through her engagement ring in Alberta, Canada. Grams, who lost her diamond ring 13 years ago while pulling weeds in her garden, is wearing it proudly again after her daughter-in-law pulled it from the ground on a misshapen carrot. Grams, 84, said she can't believe the vegetable actually grew through and around the diamond engagement ring she had given up for lost. [Iva Harberg/The Canadian Press via AP]