The mother of a 14-year-old boy who was charged in the death of his little sister is begging the court to allow her to see her son, whose trial began earlier this week in juvenile court.
At the end of March, Jonathan Aguiluz’s mother, Gloria Yanes, wrote a letter to two Montgomery County Circuit Court Judges in the Juvenile Division who were then overseeing the case in juvenile court. Yanes provided the letter to The Gazette at the beginning of April after not receiving any response.
She said in the letter she had been unable to see Jonathan since he had been arrested in February charged in the death of his 7-month-old sister, Larissa.
“They [do] not allow me to have any contact with him, not at all, not at all. And I don’t know why?” Yanes wrote.
Officials at Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services have declined to talk about the specifics of Jonathan’s case and why his mother has not been allowed to see him.
“There are times under special circumstances the department receives a court order to limit the visitation of a family member for a specific reason,” Eric Solomon, a spokesman for the agency, told The Gazette in an email.
“We are looking out for the best interest of the child and will not force any harmful situations for the youth in our care.”
But he could not confirm anything specific regarding Yanes’ inability to see her son.
Prosecutors and the boy’s defense attorney both declined to talk to The Gazette about the case because he is a juvenile. The trial, which began Monday, is closed to the public.
Police charged the teen as an adult with first-degree murder Feb. 8, after discovering Larissa, unresponsive, at the family’s home in Silver Spring.
Fire and rescue personnel took Larissa to Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, where she died from asphyxiation about 6:54 a.m., according to authorities.
The initial charges were due to Maryland state law, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy told reporters after the boy’s initial bail review Feb. 11.
“As noted by the prosecution and defense in open court, in Maryland, under law, if someone commits the offense of first-degree murder, it is mandated that you be charged originally as an adult,” McCarthy said then.
The infant’s body was covered with injuries that were later determined by the Maryland medical examiner to be bug bites, McCarthy said after the bail review.
“Bugs attacked this girl after she died,” McCarthy said then.
That finding — that bugs had caused the marks, not a person — was one reason prosecutors gave for deciding to charge the boy with the lesser second-degree murder charge, moving his case into the juvenile system.
Yanes said in her letter that police told her son that she had accused him of Larissa’s death, an assertion she denied.
“I did not do that,” she said in the letter.
She said in the letter that when her son was arrested, “They accuse and accuse, and they don’t give him a chance to say anything.”
Yanes arrived in the United States in 2006, she told The Gazette after the preliminary hearing in March that resulted in her son’s case being moved to juvenile court. Yanes said her son came to the States several years later.
Yanes said she works as a cleaner at a car dealership. She works nights and regularly left her son in charge of his little sister while she worked, she said then, adding that Jonathan had watched Larissa without incident before.
She said he volunteered to care for the little girl, and other adults often were present in the house. The child’s father also visited.
In the meantime, Yanes waits, according to her letter.
“Please, I entreat [you], if you can allow me to see him,” she wrote.