Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Lesbian Beats Lover's Son to Death

MOMSTERS
By MURRAY WEISS, ERIN CALABRESE and ANDY GELLER

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September 21, 2004 -- A Harlem lesbian beat the toddler son of her female lover to death - fracturing three ribs and rupturing his liver - simply because he soiled himself, law-enforcement sources said yesterday.

Carmen Molina, 32, and the mother, Zahira Matos, 20, were charged with second-degree murder in the death of tiny Yovany Tellez Jr. -who had 60 bruises all over his body - and face a maximum penalty of life without parole.

"They brutalized the child over a period of time. They're simply monsters who beat children," one cop said.

"Nobody human can do that," agreed neighbor Melody Walker, who rushed to the women's apartment at 2 a.m. Sunday after Matos asked her for help.

There, she saw the little boy lying bleeding with bruises on his arms, legs and stomach.

"To do that to somebody who came out of your body is just horrible," said Walker, a mother of three.

The boy's father, Yovany Tellez Sr., 21, refused to say anything bad about his ex-girlfriend, who began having an affair with Molina last November.

"It's a terrible loss. I'm going through a hard time," Tellez said after driving 14 hours to New York from his home in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Little Yovany died at St. Luke's Hospital at 2:26 a.m. Sunday. The cause of death was fatal child-abuse syndrome - multiple blows that fractured three of his ribs, ruptured his liver, crushed his lower stomach and broke his leg, law-enforcement sources said.

A woman who lives directly downstairs said that at 2 a.m., she heard a child's scream that "knocked me off my feet."

In statements to cops, both women admitted hitting the tot repeatedly with their fists and beating him with a belt, the sources said.

Matos first told cops that the bruises on her son's body were caused by her husband, who was a warlock and cast spells on the toddler, the sources said.

But after questioning, she broke down and admitted beating the boy, the sources said.

Matos was held without bail last night at her arraignment before Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Patricia NuĀ¤ez.

Matos, a woman with sad, sleepy eyes and long straight dark hard streaked with blond, looked shocked during the proceeding. She hid her face in her hands and sobbed as she was taken back to her cell.

On Saturday, the sources said, the women were having trouble potty-training Yovany.

Matos went out and left the boy in the care of Molina. When she returned, he had a large bump and bruise on his forehead and was unable to move his right leg - it was broken, the sources said.

Molina said the boy soiled himself and she exploded in fury, socking him in the stomach, the sources said.

The woman said she took the tot into the bathroom, washed him off and left him on a bathtub ledge, from which he fell and broke his leg, the sources said.

Walker said that when she was summoned to the women's apartment - on the 15th floor of 3170 Broadway - the boy's body was blue.

"It was really ugly," she said. "There were bruises on his arms, stomach and legs, and he was bleeding from his rectum. I suspected foul play right away."

Walker said Matos "wasn't frantic in the way you are when you're the mother of an injured child. She wasn't crying. She just kept saying, 'He's not breathing, he's not breathing,' over and over again."

"He was a typical 2-year-old," Walker added. "He was just precious. He looked like he could be happy.

"This is horrible, very horrible. No child deserves this."

Tellez was born in Miami and moved to Michigan when he was 8 or 9, his brother, Orlando, said by telephone from Grand Rapids.

Matos is also from Michigan, while Molina has lived in both states, he said.

Matos also has two daughters, 6-year-old Yahmliz and Kimberley, who was born on July 22. Both are in the custody of child-welfare workers.

Additional reporting by Laura Italiano