Report: Bella Vista Man Accused Of Killing Child Had Prior Rape Allegations

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JONESBORO (KFSM) - A Bella Vista man accused of killing his six-year-old son had two prior allegations of rape in Jonesboro in 2004, according to incident reports from the Jonesboro Police Department.

Mauricio Alejandro Torres, 45, and Cathy Lynn Torres, 43, were arrested on April 6 following the death of Maurice Isaiah Torres and are facing charges of capital murder, rape and first-degree battery in connection to his death, Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith said.

An autopsy ruled Isaiah’s death was a homicide caused by injuries related to rape and chronic child abuse, according to a probable cause affidavit.

A report filed by a Jonesboro police officer on March 4, 2004, shows Mauricio Torres was questioned regarding allegations that he raped a four-year-old girl. The allegations were made by the child's paternal aunt, according to the report. Torres denied touching the child inappropriately, and the case was closed due to a lack of physical evidence and an incomplete account by the victim, the report states.

Another report filed by a Jonesboro police officer on July 29, 2004, shows Torres was questioned again, this time regarding allegations of rape and sexual assault with an object. The victim was the same four-year-old girl and Torres was identified as her stepfather, the report states. The allegations were made through the Child Abuse Hotline by a counselor who was notified about the alleged sexual abuse by the child's stepmother and biological father, according to the report.

The report states the child lived with Torres, her mother, whose name was redacted, and four other siblings. It also states the Department of Human Services put the child and her siblings in foster care in the past because of allegations of physical abuse, but the agency determined the claims were unsubstantiated.

According to the report, the four-year-old was once again put in foster care as investigators looked into the sexual abuse allegations she made against Torres.

The child told investigators that Torres told her to not to tell anyone about the sexual abuse and that she never told her mother, the report states.

The girl's father and stepmother were also interviewed, according to the report. The stepmother told investigators she and her husband were seeking custody of the child following the allegations she made against Torres, the report states. She also told investigators that the girl was shy, so she questioned her about the sexual abuse claims as practice the night before the child's interview with investigators to make her more comfortable, according to the report.

The child's father confirmed to investigators that his wife told him what his daughter disclosed to her, but the girl never came to him herself, the report states.

In August 2004, the child went through a sexual assault exam, but the results came back negative, according to the report.

The report states investigators interviewed Mauricio Torres and his wife concerning the allegations in early September. Torres denied that he had ever touched any of the children inappropriately and said the girl's father was attacking him to gain custody, according to the report. Torres' wife denied having any knowledge that Torres sexually abused the children and also said the allegations were an attempt to make him look bad, the report states.

Torres agreed to take a polygraph test during the interview, but when investigators contacted him in October about it he said he was advised by his lawyer not to take one, according to the report.

According to the March and July reports, the same investigator from the Arkansas State Police Family Protection Unit was involved in both cases.

There was a third report filed by a Jonesboro police officer on August 17, 2007. The officer looked into the reports filed in March and July 2004, according to the documents. The officer spoke with a prosecutor about the July 2004 case and was told charges were never filed against Torres and the case was closed because of lack of evidence, the report states.

The 2007 report was also closed without charges.

Documents released by DHS Friday (April 10), show the agency opened two cases involving Torres and his wife in 2002 and 2004. The 2002 case was closed in 2003 and the 2004 case was closed in 2007. According to the documents, the cases involved DHS taking children from the couple to put them in foster care.

The documents show DHS also investigated two allegations in 2014 regarding Maurice Isaiah Torres prior to his death on March 30 at a Bella Vista hospital.

A report filed on January 22, 2014 had to do with "inadequate supervision" and a report filed on March 20, 2014 had to do with "cut, bruises and welts" found on the child, according to the DHS documents. Both claims were found to be unsubstantiated.

According to the Benton County Prosecutor's Office, Mauricio and Cathy Torres are scheduled to be arraigned on May 4 at 8:30 a.m.

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