Court documents: Toddler’s death was not caused by fall down stairs

HARLINGEN — Court documents allege last month’s death of a little Harlingen girl was not caused by falling down the stairs.

On April 18, officers responded to the home of Samantha Lee Gonzalez, 27, on the 1800 block of South 3rd Street. Gonzalez told them she was in the bathroom when two-year-old Katalina Castaneda fell down the stairs.

However, court documents and information from a medical examiner says Gonzalez called her mother-in-law for help and then waited 16 minutes before she called 911.

Gonzalez went with her daughter to the hospital where the child died later that night.

An autopsy determined the child died from blunt force trauma to the abdomen. Court documents say the toddler suffered a ruptured liver and a ruptured kidney. They say her injuries were not caused by the fall, but rather from being punched, kicked, squeezed or stomped in the stomach.

The autopsy also showed little Katalina had a bald spot on her head that may have been caused by someone pulling her hair repeatedly.

Gonzalez is charged with failing to provide proper medical attention resulting in the toddler’s death. She is out on a $30,000 bond.