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updated: 6/26/2012 7:41 PM

Arlington Heights grandmother gets probation in baby's death

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  • Eugenia Trejo

      Eugenia Trejo

 
 

Reymond Trejo never saw his first birthday.

Left unattended on the morning of Jan. 4, 2011, 5-month-old Reymond suffocated after he fell off a queen-size bed into a pile of laundry in his grandfather's Rolling Meadows apartment.

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His grandfather wasn't there and neither was his grandmother, Eugenia Trejo -- the baby's legal guardian. And for leaving him alone that day, Eugenia Trejo Tuesday received 30 months probation on charges she endangered the life of a child -- the same sentence her estranged husband, Jose Trejo, received last September.

"Reymond Trejo is dead because nobody cared about him," Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Andre said during Eugenia Trejo's sentencing hearing. "He was left alone. Nobody cared about him, and it's time somebody did."

Eugenia Trejo -- who lived in Arlington Heights but took care of Reymond while her estranged husband was at work and her children, including the boy's then 17-year-old mother, were at school -- had been appointed Reymond's legal guardian just one day before his death.

Calling Eugenia Trejo's behavior "egregious," Andre urged Cook County Judge Kay Hanlon to impose a prison term insisting "this is a defendant who had the legal responsibility to take care of Reymond ... before the ink was even dry on that document, she had abandoned her duty."

"She knew every second she wasn't there, there was a 5-month-old infant with no one to take care of him," Andre said.

Defense attorney Kevin McCubbin argued for probation saying his client's lack of substantial criminal background and her blind plea admitting guilt -- which she entered without a sentencing agreement -- showed remorse and acceptance of responsibility for a "terrible, unfortunate incident."

Hanlon agreed that Trejo had accepted responsibility and sentenced her to 30 months probation, the same sentence Cook County Judge Hyman Riebman imposed on Jose Trejo. The charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, though probation is an option.

Eugenia Trejo, 50, was living with a boyfriend in a trailer in Arlington Heights while caring for Reymond during the day at Jose Trejo's house. At his sentencing hearing, Jose Trejo testified he went to work and his daughter went to school about 7 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2011. He returned home about 8:20 a.m. as his son, then 10, was leaving for school and Reymond was still sleeping.

Eugenia hadn't arrived, he said. He returned again about 10 a.m. Eugenia was there but they couldn't find Reymond. Jose Trejo testified he eventually located the baby face down on a pile of laundry between the bed and a dresser.

Rolling Meadows detective Phil Barrile Tuesday described the apartment as being "in complete disarray."

Eugenia Trejo stated that she arrived at the apartment about 5:30 a.m. daily, but Barrile testified that Trejo's boyfriend reported seeing her asleep at their home at 5 a.m. the day Reymond died. Arlington Heights neighbors reported seeing her car parked outside their trailer about 9 a.m. that day, said Barrile. He testified that during his investigation both Jose and Eugenia Trejo stated Reymond had been left alone on several occasions.

Eugenia Trejo sobbed as she addressed the court insisting that she loved Reymond and saying she wished she had died instead of him.

"I never wanted this to happen," said Trejo, who talked her daughter out of having an abortion telling the girl that she would be responsible for the child.

"This hurts and it's always going to hurt," Trejo said.

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