Florida gets hot in July. Persons who are outside in the heat for extended periods are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and heat related injuries. Parents are cautioned to watch their children as they can be especially susceptible to heat problems.
July 24, 2006 someone went to a relative’s home to visit with a child who lived there. They found a 2 year old toddler strapped into a high chair sitting outside the home. Upon entering the home they found the child’s mother Whitney Mendez and grandmother Lorena Stone, 49, dead from multiple stab wounds. The toddler had no injuries and was treated for dehydration. Two knives were found in the home and both were broken.
Whitney Mendez, 19, was married to Juan Mendez, 28, in April, but separated from her husband and was living with her mother. On June 30 th she had taken out a domestic violence protection order against her husband Juan Mendez. Allegedly he had beaten her and threatened to kill her.
The children were taken into state custody and the case was being investigated.
In September Mendez went to court to get custody of his wife’s remains and the judge denied the request and gave custody to his wife’s brother. The reason for the ruling was due to the protection order that was in effect at the time of his wife’s death.
In December Mendez filed to get custody of his two children. The judge ruled the children should stay in state care. During the hearing, Mendez reportedly called himself a “super dad” Mendez did have weekly supervised visitation with his son with Mendez and another of his children.
Time went by and the case may have appeared to grow quiet as there were no arrests. A witness was found who reported speaking by phone with Whitney Mendez on July 24, but heard screaming and the call was dropped. However the friend did not go to the home.
DNA was located on the knives that were found in the home and DNA was also found under the victims fingernails and testing had to be done. Investigators say the DNA testing is back and they have a match. Allegedly the DNA matches Juan Mendez.
Juan Mendez was arrested on Wed. afternoon and was charged with 2 counts of first degree murder. Mendez reportedly does have a domestic violence history. Allegedly at least three of the mothers of his four children have filed for domestic violence orders against him. He also had a criminal history of various other charges.
He may have formerly been a good dad. He may formerly have been a great dad. But what he is accused of doing is to left his child motherless, and grandmotherless, he left the child alone and unsupervised, strapped into a high chair outside in the hot July Florida heat… for an unknown amount of time. Prior to the murders, it is alleged that he beat Whitney Mendez in front of their child. And of the other mother’s, it is alleged that he beat one of them while she was pregnant.
And if he is convicted of this crime, he will have also placed his children in a position where he left them virtually fatherless, as if he is convicted he will not be in a position to parent them.
I guess it is a matter of perception. If that is a “superdad”, if that is even a “good” dad, then I really don’t want to see a “bad” dad.