MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Dos Palos couple charged in connection with the death of a 4-year-old child were in court on Thursday.
Steven Perez is facing assault charges for the death of Kyis Conrady.
The boy's mother, Chanish Conrady, is also facing charges for child endangerment.
The child's family members were in the courtroom. At some points, they had to leave the room from some of the details.
Witnesses testified that there were signs of abuse months before the child died.
Defense attorneys argue however, that the child would harm himself while having a tantrum, and it could've been a major factor in his death.
One of the defendants was in tears; the other, emotionless.
Several investigators and officers took the stand, and testified that signs of the alleged abuse started back in September of 2018, when the little boy's biological father noticed a large bruise on the child's groin area, then asked him how he got hurt.
Officers say later in October, they were called to a Los Banos hospital because Kyis had a swollen skull and bruised eye. However, Chanish told doctors a boy at his school hit Kyis with a truck toy.
"She was the one who noticed the injuries, she would bring him to the hospital after he was discharged, and a few days later took him to a new hospital," argued Chanish Conrady's defense attorney Katie Reed.
Police reports say Conrady told investigators that her son has Aspergers, and defense attorneys argue that the child would self-harm while having tantrums.
"Multiple people, including officers, did witness the child self-harming by banging his own head, by throwing tantrums. She took him to the DA's office for an interview to determine if he was being abused by anybody, and they were unable to do because of his behavior," Reed said.
Investigators say on the day Kyis died in November, Chanish put him to bed, took sleeping pills and went to bed while Perez stayed in the living room.
Attorneys say Perez heard Kyis get up and go to bathroom to vomit, then later return to the bathroom where he collapsed.
He later died at the hospital.
The Merced County coroner also tesitified, and says the little boy died from blunt impact to his abdomen, almost like he suffered a punch or kick to the stomach.
He also had bruises to his head.
Attorneys asked if the boy self harming could've contributed to the injuries, and while the coroner says it's possible, it seems unlikely.
The case is now expected to move to trial.
Court records show both Conrady and Perez are expected to be arraigned on the information presented Thursday on February 15.
Couple charged in death of 4-year-old appear in court
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