A metro neighborhood is mourning the loss of a 3-year-old boy who died suddenly Monday night.
According to the Oklahoma City Police Department, emergency crews were called to a home at Southwest 21st and Brookline Ave. around 7 p.m. after a report of an unresponsive child.
The child, identified as 3-year-old Elias Mendoza, was transported to OU Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Mendoza’s father, 28-year-old Jesus Marquez, was arrested on suspicion of child abuse.
At the hospital, investigators discovered bruises on the top of the child’s feet, right hip, legs, across the lower back, and above the genitals. He also had a gash approximately one-inch long underneath his chin and a bump on the right side of his head.
An OU Medical Center doctor concluded there was a high suspicion for abuse, due to the number of bruises on the child’s body.
A relative of Mendoza told News 9 the child had fallen on steps and Mendoza’s 12-year-old brother performed CPR.
Investigators interviewed the child’s father who told them the bruising occurred after he was picked up in the shower.
Marquez told investigators he had squeezed his son too hard with his hands when his son would throw himself in the shower. Marquez told investigators it happened approximately four times.
Neighbors told News 9 they watched first responders take the child’s lifeless body into an ambulance. They cannot believe what happened.
“He noticed that I picked up cans,” said neighbor Roy Flud. “And every now and then, he'd grab a can and hand it to me. He was such a sweet little boy.”
As the grieving process continues, many know this neighborhood won’t be same.
“I’m going to miss that little smile when I’m walking the streets,” said Flud.
Police continue to investigate the case.
The Medical Examiner’s Office will determine an official cause of death.