The man charged in the death of a 23-month-old north Iowa child last year is pleading not guilty.
24-year-old Jhonny Junior Salvator Suarez Rivera of Humboldt is charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. Authorities say Rivera was the caretaker of his girlfriend’s son when the toddler was taken to Franklin General Hospital in Hampton on August 1, 2020, for treatment of serious injuries. The child was pronounced dead within an hour after arrival.
Court documents state a State Medical Examiner’s autopsy conducted two days later concluded the child died from multiple blunt force injuries and classified the death as a homicide. Investigators say Rivera could not explain the boy’s death, other than speculating the child may have choked on a piece of chicken and thrown a tantrum.
Rivera’s trial is scheduled to begin on February 22, 2022, in Franklin County. He remains in the Hardin County Jail on $1 million bond.