Miami Gardens police said they found Tristin Tavares Bernard, 18, inside a home near the crime scene and that he had changed clothing. After securing a search warrant, police said, they also found bloody clothing they suspect belonged to Bernard inside the home.
The defendant stated the victim had run out of the house and almost crossed the street. He ran out of the house and stopped her. He stated since she wasnt listening to him he struck her with the brick, the arresting officer wrote in Bernards arrest report.
Bernard was taken into custody just past midnight Thursday and charged with second-degree attempted murder, aggravated battery with great bodily harm and aggravated child abuse and torture. His bond was set at $42,500. The child was taken to Joe DiMaggios Childrens Hospital in Hollywood in critical condition.
Family and neighbors say Bernard is mentally unstable, according to a report from Miami Herald news partner CBS4.
Nobody in this world would expect that he would do that, like [he] never show that sign that he would do that, said a family member who did not want to give his name.
According to witness accounts and police, the child was being watched by Bernards mother late Thursday afternoon, who lost track of her and was calling out for her, said a family member who wished to remain anonymous.
Shes like screaming Katura, Katura, Katura, wheres Katura, she started checking the room, was checking the room she dont see the other kid, the family member told CBS4.
At about the same time, according to Bernards arrest report, a man named Jose Oswaldo Sotomayor Garcia told police he heard a noise coming from the side of his home that he believed was a cat. He went to inspect. What he found instead, Sotomayor Garcia told police, was Bernard hitting the child in the head with a red brick.
Sotomayor Garcia told police he grabbed Bernard and threw him to the ground. Bernard, he said, got up and ran off. Sotomayor Garcia screamed for help.
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MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) – Police have a man in custody after a 3-year-old girl was found in a trash can in Miami Gardens.
Miami Gardens Police and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units responded to the scene along Northwest 27th Circle, just before 5:15 p.m., Thursday.
Video: Beaten Child Found Beaten In Miami Gardens Recycling Bin, Arrest Made
The child’s family told 7News the young victim was spending the day with her grandmother when, at some point, she and her teenage cousin both went missing.
“When she turned back, she don’t see her, so she said, ‘Catora! Catora!” said a family member who did not want to be identified, “so when she doesn’t see Catora, she doesn’t see him either. That’s when she got suspicious, like, ‘Where’s Tristan? Where’s Tristan?”
A neighbor eventually found the child stuffed inside a trash bin that was taken away for evidence more than a block away from the house.
The neighbor then called rescue crews, who transported the child to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in critical condition.
A witness told 7News that they saw 18-year-old Tristin Tavares Bernard beating the girl with a brick.
According to police, the witness then grabbed Bernard and threw him to the ground. Police said Bernard ran away while the witness called for help.
“You grow with somebody, and to do your own family like that … It’s not like you don’t know her,” said the young girl’s family member. “Never expected he would do that to our grandchild like that.”