A Salt Lake City man was behind bars Friday, the day after being charged in connection with the slaying of a toddler almost three decades ago.
Louis Mark Duran, 53, was arrested Thursday after being charged in 3rd District Court with second-degree murder, a first-degree felony carrying up to life in prison, in the 1988 death of a 15-month-old girl in Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said the charges stemmed from a "cold case" investigative review by Salt Lake City police detectives.
Details on exactly when and where Duran was arrested were not immediately released, but he was being held in lieu of $1 million cash-only bail at the Weber County Jail. No date for an initial court appearance has been set.
Prosecutors allege that Duran was watching the toddler — identified in court documents by only her initials, V.N. — on Oct. 3, 1988, when the child was found dead in the man’s home from "multiple blunt force trauma."
Recently, a detective was able to locate and interview several witnesses — including the alleged victim’s mother and Duran — about events leading up to the death of the child. The detective determined the case had been "inappropriately closed" the same year, according to court documents.
The day the girl died, her mother and Duran’s sister left to run errands about 1:30 p.m., leaving the child in Duran’s care. By the time Nieto returned five hours later, the girl was blue and not breathing, according to the charges.
Duran told Nieto that he did not know what happened, but did say, "I’m sorry, I’m sorry," the charges add.
A medical examiner recently reviewed the initial autopsy and determined the girl suffered blows to the head, which caused fatal complications.
In a recent interview with detectives Duran said that he was taking care of the girl the day she died and that no other adult was there. While he admitted to having caused bite marks on the girl’s forearm and face, he "otherwise said he couldn’t tell the officers what happened that day," according to the charges.
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