A 24-year-old Pomona woman and her stepson must stand trial on murder and child-abuse charges in the Sept. 28 drowning of the woman's 2-year-old child in Angeles National Forest, a Glendale judge has ruled.
After a three-day preliminary hearing last week, Glendale Municipal Judge J. D. Smith ordered Nancy Ruiz, 24, and her stepson, James Ruiz, 18, to face a Nov. 7 Superior Court arraignment. Smith called the child's death "the worst kind of torture."
The boy, his body covered with more than 72 bruises, died shortly after being flown from the forest by helicopter to Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale, according to testimony. Police allege that the couple beat the child, then dunked him repeatedly in a stream.
The pair, who police said admitted that they were lovers, were first arrested on suspicion of child abuse. When an autopsy revealed that the child had died of drowning, they were charged with murder.