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Metro Digest / Local News in Brief

Man Charged With Murder in Girl's Death

June 06, 1989

A Boyle Heights man was charged Monday with murder and sexual child abuse in connection with last week's brutal killing of his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter.

Manuel Bonilla, 22, who was arraigned in Municipal Court, is being held without bail. Maria Gutierrez, 22, the child's mother, was charged with child abuse and with being an accessory after the fact for helping Bonilla mislead police.

The pair, both of whom wore prison clothing and were handcuffed and chained at the hearing, have been in custody since Thursday on suspicion of beating to death Gutierrez's daughter Johanna. The couple then allegedly buried her on a remote hillside in Azusa Canyon.

Municipal Judge David S. Milton denied bail for Bonilla and set bail for Gutierrez at $200,000.

The county Department of Children's Services has been aware of the couple's family problems since February when it received reports of alleged violence and child abuse, said department spokeswoman Jerrye Keeble. A social worker had been making monthly visits to the home since the agency learned of the problems.

Four children belonging to Gutierrez--a 2-week-old infant and three others ages 1, 3, and 4 years--were taken from the house by the Department of Children's Services and are living with relatives.

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