Man on trial for killing 3-year-old disappears, manhunt underway

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KSAT) — After a two-hour delay, closing arguments got underway Wednesday morning in the murder trial of Matthew Aranda.

Aranda was not present, however, and his bond was ordered forfeited and an arrest warrant was issued for him.

Aranda had been free on bond since his arrest three years ago in the murder of Melody Velasquez, his 3-year-old adopted daughter.

The child died in January 2009 of what medical experts said was blunt force trauma to the head.

“Don’t demonize a man (and) call him a murderer for five years for something you know he didn’t do,” Aranda’s attorney, Charles Bunk, said during closing arguments. “He is not guilty.”

He argued that the state did not prove their case.

The indictment against Aranda includes four counts: Felony murder, injury to a child by omission, and two counts of injury to a child by reckless omission.

“He is guilty — it is quite clear,” prosecutor Jan Ishy told the jury. “He is guilty on counts 1,2, 3 and 4.”

During the trial, prosecutors called medical experts who said that the child was the victim of child abuse. They showed the jury X-rays that experts said showed she had several broken bones, ribs and blunt force trauma to the head.

Aranda told police that the child had fallen down a flight of stairs at the home he shared with his domestic partner Noberto Velasquez, Melody and three foster children.

Velasquez was tried on injury to a child charges in November 2013 and given probation. He became ill and died several days after his trial ended and was never sentenced.

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