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Mom and teen she claimed was her ‘boyfriend’ are charged after her 4-year-old daughter is found dead

In World
June 22, 2024

A 23-year-old Indiana mom and a teenager have been charged over the “very disturbing” death of her 4-year-old daughter, who was found with human bite marks on her arm.

Destiny F. Rhoades and 16-year-old Christian T. Gonzalez, who she claimed to be in a relationship with, both face felony counts over the death of Octavia Aquino.

Officers responded around 9am June 14 after receiving reports from Rhoades’ roommate, who found the child “unresponsive” in their apartment. The youngster was reportedly “cold to the touch.”

She was transported to the hospital alive, but with “very little brain activity.” However, in a Sunday update, police announced the child had died.

Due to the child’s passing, Rhoades’ original charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury was changed to neglect of a dependent resulting in death – a level one felony.

Destiny Rhoades’ original charge of Neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily Injury was changed to neglect of a dependent resulting in death – a level one felony – after the death of her four-year-old daughter (Vanderburgh County Jail)

Destiny Rhoades’ original charge of Neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily Injury was changed to neglect of a dependent resulting in death – a level one felony – after the death of her four-year-old daughter (Vanderburgh County Jail)

Gonzalez’s original charge of battery resulting in serious bodily injury was changed to murder.

According to the original police report, Rhoades had been at work when her daughter was found.

Rhoades said that she had left the child sleeping at 7am when she had left for work. An adult roommate stated that she noticed the child had bruises on her body, specifically around her neck area. She also had a “human bite mark on her forearm,” according to police.

Detectives were told the 16-year-old admitted he bit the child, but only after she bit him first.

A roommate reported that the child seemed to be “staring off and was nauseous” while in Rhoades’ care on June 13. The police report described the circumstances as a “very disturbing case.”

Christian Gonzalez allegedly admitted to biting the four-year-old child, but only after she had bitten him first (Vanderburgh County Jail)

Christian Gonzalez allegedly admitted to biting the four-year-old child, but only after she had bitten him first (Vanderburgh County Jail)

Detectives had uncovered details of incidents involving Rhoades and her “juvenile boyfriend” since they arrived in Evansville together earlier this year. In February, officers found Gonzalez, who was 15 at the time, after he was reported missing from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Due to a missing person case being a status offense, officers placed him at Hillcrest Youth Home, though he fled the building shortly after.

Officers located him again, this time in the company of Rhoades at her residence. He was placed at the Youth Care Center and eventually transported back to Fort Wayne.

At the time, Rhoades was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a level four felony. After being released from jail, she returned to Fort Wayne until her pending court date, which was set for April 11. Gonzalez went missing again, around the same time Rhoades returned to Evansville for that court date.

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