Idaho prosecutors have charged a stepmother with murder and her husband with felony injury after police say a nine-year-old boy was discovered starved and covered in bruises in the family’s home earlier this week.
The child, Emrik Osuna, was pronounced dead early Wednesday morning, just hours after paramedics arrived at his parents’ residence in Meridian and found him not breathing, with vomit coming out of his mouth.
Online court records show Emrik’s stepmother, 27-year-old Monique Osuna, has been charged with murder, and the child’s father, Erik Osuna-Gutierrez, 29, has been charged with felony injury to a child, infliction of great bodily harm and destruction of evidence.
Monique Osuna, 27, (left), has been charged with murder in the beating death of her nine-year-old stepson. The boy’s father, Erik Osuna-Gutierrez, 29 (right), has been charged with felony injury to a child, infliction of great bodily harm and destruction of evidence
Emrik Osuna, nine, was found not breathing and without a heartbeat at his family’s home in Idaho on Tuesday night
Neither of them have had the opportunity to enter a plea, and court records show the Ada County Public Defender’s office has been assigned to handle their cases.
During a hearing on Thursday, a prosecutor detailed what she described as months of ‘horrific’ torture that Emrik had endured at the hands of his stepmother, reported KTVB.
‘Due to COVID, she’s been working from home and since [Emrik] was not in school, she essentially had access to him all day long,’ Tamara Kelly said in court.
Osuna reportedly has admitted to police that she had kicked her stepson in the groin and beat him with various objects, among them a frying pan, a wooden spoon, a backscratcher and a belt, which she later swapped for a dog leash because it was heavier.
The married mother-of-four also allegedly tortured Emrik by locking him in a closet at night, feeding him nothing but rice and water for weeks, and subjecting him to strenuous physical exercise as punishment, including protracted wall sits and jumping jacks.
Police and paramedics were called to the Osunas’ home in Meridian nearly five hours after Osuna-Gutierrez texted his wife that Emrik needed to go to the hospital
Osuna allegedly admitted to kicking her stepson in the groin and beating Emrik with a pan, a wooden spoon, a belt and a dog leash. The torture took place while she worked from home
At the time of his death, Emrik was covered in bruises and vomit, and was severely dehydrated and malnourished
According to the prosecutor, Osuna only allowed Emrik to stop exercising when she took a break from work.
The boy’s father allegedly was aware of the abuse but failed to stop it.
‘In combination with this physical abuse, this defendant admitted to what is essentially torture of E.O. by locking him in a small closet at night to sleep, withholding food, making him do physical strenuous punishments while she was working,’ Kelly said.
Kelly said Emrik was forced to do jumping jacks and wall sits for long periods of time, only allowed to stop for a moment when his stepmother took a break from her work.
Emrik’s father, Erik Osuna, knew that his wife was abusing the 9-year-old, but did nothing to stop her, Kelly said.
The prosecutor also said there is evidence that the couple waited more than four hours to seek help for Emrik as he lay dying at home.
Emrik lived with his four step-siblings, ages nine, four and four months (pictured above with his brothers)
Osuna-Gutierrez (left and right) allegedly was aware of the abuse targeting his son but failed to stop it
At around 5pm on Tuesday, Erik texted his wife, telling her that they needed to take his son to the hospital, and that he was scared.
But it was not until just before 9.40pm that evening that the Meridian Police Department received a 911 call reporting that a child was not breathing.
Emergency responders arrived at the Rushmore Apartments in the 1000 block of W. Broadway Avenue and found Emrik with no heartbeat.
‘Officers observed that the victim showed signs of abuse,’ according to a police press release.
EMS crews performed CPR on the nine-year-old before transporting him to St Luke’s Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Kelly said in court that an examination revealed that Emrik was severely dehydrated and malnourished, and had numerous injuries all over his body.
Osuna allegedly locked Emrik in a closet at night, fed him nothing but rice and water and subjected him to strenuous physical exercise
A prosecutor said Osuna-Gutierrez is a flight risk because he is in the US illegally
‘Some of the bruises were extremely large and essentially covered the back of his body,’ she said.
The couple’s three other children, ages nine, four and four months, were placed into protective custody with Idaho Health and Welfare.
The prosecutor asked the judge to keep both parents in jail and away from their surviving children, and argued that Erik Osuna is a flight risk because he is an undocumented immigrant with few ties to Idaho.
The judge ordered the couple held on $2million bond each and barred them from having contact with their children. The parents are due back in court for a preliminary hearing on September 17.