By JASON COX
Of The Keizertimes
A Keizer man was indicted Monday on murder by abuse charges after his four-year-old stepson’s death.
Police last week arrested Gerardo Chavarria Pinzon and charged him with manslaughter. The Marion County Grand Jury issued its indictment Monday – two counts each of murder by abuse and first-degree criminal mistreatment.
An arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 17.
Authorities allege the man pushed the young boy with a plastic child carrier, causing him to fall down a flight of stairs, then played video games for more than an hour before seeking medical help despite injuries to the child’s head.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office stated Sebastian Iturbe, 4, died of blunt force trauma to the head. Dr. Larry Lewman stated the death was a homicide.
A statement Tuesday from Keizer Police stated the boy lived at Hawk’s Point Apartments at 1220 McGee Court NE in north Keizer with his mother, 27-year-old Erika Iturbe Colin, stepfather Gerardo Chavarria Pinzon and his 13-month old sister.
According to a probable cause statement from Keizer Police detectives, the suspect initially told authorities the child fell off a step leading to their apartment and hit his head. However, according to Det. Vaughn Edsall, the suspect later changed his story.
Police said the suspect had his hands full while returning to their basement apartment and asked Sebastian to carry something. Sebastian became angry and stopped at the top of a flight of stairs, Edsall wrote in his statement. The suspect then used the child carrier to push the boy, police said, causing him to fall down 17 stairs and land at the bottom clutching his head. His head struck several stairs as he fell, police said.
According to police, the suspect carried Sebastian inside and put him on a couch, then took him to bed, and went to play video games on his Playstation.
After about an hour and a half he found Sebastian breathing but unresponsive in his bed. The stepfather admitted the boy into Salem Hospital at about 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, with what the attending physician called life-threatening injuries. Doctors there performed emergency surgery, and subsequently sent Sebastian to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.
He was pronounced dead at 9:45 p.m. Sunday, November 6.