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Hillsborough man sentenced to life in prison for murder of 2-year-old boy

David Vasquez Malave was found guilty of first-degree murder and child abuse.
David Vasquez Malave is escorted into a Tampa courtroom during his trial. He was sentenced to life in prison Thursday for killing a 2-year-old boy.
David Vasquez Malave is escorted into a Tampa courtroom during his trial. He was sentenced to life in prison Thursday for killing a 2-year-old boy. [ WTVT-Fox 13 ]
Published Jul. 7|Updated Jul. 7

After a four-day trial and a guilty verdict, a Hillsborough man was sentenced to life in prison Thursday for the murder of a 2-year-old boy.

Kaydan Guerrero died under David Vasquez Malave’s care in July 2020 after the boy suffered a brain hemorrhage and other injuries. Vasquez Malave initially told police that the child had fallen out of the back seat of a car during a diaper change and hit his head.

Prosecutors argued that the boy’s injuries were not accidental. Medical experts said the injuries were a result of a high-velocity impact akin to a fall from a building or car crash.

Vasquez Malave was convicted of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and child abuse. He will serve his sentence with no possibility of parole.

Vasquez Malave, handcuffed and wearing orange inmate clothing from the Hillsborough County jail, remained silent and showed no emotion as Judge Samantha Ward read the sentence.

Kaydan’s mother, Deyaneira Lopez-Otero, was present via Zoom with her camera turned off. An assistant state attorney read a statement Lopez-Otero had prepared, which addressed Vasquez Malave directly.

Vasquez Malave and Lopez-Otero were dating at the time of Kaydan’s death and have known each other since middle school.

“I don’t really know what to say to you, but I needed you to know how you made me feel,” the attorney read on behalf of Lopez-Otero. “I haven’t slept a whole entire night in two years because of you. I hope you suffer worse than I ever did.

“I hope the face of Kaydan haunts you for the rest of your lonely and sad days,” the statement continued. “He deserved to grow up with his brothers and sisters.”

Prior to the sentencing, Vasquez Malave’s defense team asked for an acquittal and retrial due to alleged prosecutorial misconduct. Ward denied the request, saying there was no significant obstruction of evidence that would warrant a new trial.

The defense made no efforts to reduce Vasquez Malave’s sentence, as he faced a mandatory life term. Vasquez Malave chose not to make a statement to the court.

Tyrone Williams, Kaydan’s biological father’s uncle, who was present via Zoom, made a statement on behalf of his family.

“Kaydan’s parents and family will never get over this dark space in our lives,” he said. “There’s no bringing Kaydan back to us, but this court can finish the job of the jury.”

Vasquez Malave will be transferred to a Florida state prison.


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