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Press Release

November 20, 2012

Hesperia man convicted of Second Degree Murder and Assault on a Child Causing Death

Scarlett, approximately two months before her death

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.– A 25-year-old Hesperia man was convicted Thursday of killing a one-year-old child, by placing his foot on her chest area and pressing down with most of his weight.

A jury found Daniel Ruiz guilty of one count of Second Degree Murder and one count of Assault on a Child Causing Death.

On Aug. 28, 2013, Daniel Ruiz returned home from work and found that his girlfriend, Terra, was not there, so he went to her friend Andrea’s apartment, around the corner—knowing she would most likely be there.

When Daniel Ruiz arrived, both Terra and Andrea asked him to watch Andrea’s two children while they went to the store to pick up milk. One of the children was one-year-old Scarlett, the victim in this case. Both ladies were gone for approximately 30-45 minutes.

Daniel Ruiz (Booking Photo)

“During his interview with law enforcement, the defendant stated that it felt as if the two ladies were taking advantage of him,” said Lead Deputy District Attorney Kathleen DiDonato, who prosecuted the case.

According to DiDonato, Ruiz walked over to Scarlett, who was lying on the floor, propped up on a pillow watching television.

“He then placed his left foot on her chest, applying most of his 230 pounds of weight on her body,” DiDonato said. “Scarlett began gasping for breath.”

Ruiz then released his foot, walked over to the TV and began changing the channels for 2-3 minutes. When the defendant turned around, he noticed Scarlett was having what appeared to be a seizure. He tapped Scarlett on the cheek, trying to get her to snap out of it. After a few more minutes, Ruiz heard the mother returning home and ran outside to tell her that Scarlett was having a seizure and that the baby needed to go to the hospital.

Andrea was unable to contact 911, so she scooped up Scarlett in her arms and ran directly across the street to the fire station. Scarlett died at the hospital a short time later. Two days later, the internal injuries that Scarlett suffered were discovered during the autopsy.

At first, Ruiz said that he didn’t know what happened, other than the seizure. After further investigation by the Hesperia Police Department, the defendant eventually admitted to purposely stepping on Scarlett due to stress and the fact that he felt the ladies were taking advantage of him.

“The defendant stated that he actually felt better after stepping on the victim, as he sat there watching television,” DiDonato said. “The whole time, Scarlett was behind him, lying on the floor trying to catch her breath. Fighting for her life.”

Ruiz faces 25 years to life in state prison when sentenced Jan. 15, 2016 in Victorville Superior Court. Click here to download a copy of the Information.

Scarlett, approximately two months before her death

Contact: Christopher Lee, Public Affairs Officer (909) 382-3665 or via email at or via text at (909) 782-5559




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It is the mission of the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office to represent the interests of the people in the criminal justice system, as mandated by California State law. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office serves the residents of San Bernardino County by: seeking the truth, protecting the innocent; holding the guilty accountable; preserving the dignity of victims and their families; and, ensuring that justice is done while always maintaining the highest ethical standards.

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