A 37-year-old Chicago man charged with murdering his 2-year-old son allegedly confessed to investigators soon after the killing, telling them he used a knife to slash the child’s throat, nearly severing the boy’s head from his body, PEOPLE confirms.
At a Thursday press conference, Commander Brendan Deenihan of the Chicago Police Department detailed the allegations against Rolando Ortiz, who has yet to plead to the single first-degree murder count he faces.
Deenihan alleges Ortiz fled the scene after realizing he had murdered his son, Mateo Garcia Aguayo.
The toddler’s remains were recovered Wednesday evening from a trash bag in the kitchen of Ortiz’s second-floor apartment in the city’s Little Village neighborhood.
“Rolando Ortiz was at home with his 2-year-old son Mateo,” Deenihan told reporters, adding that the suspect told detectives his alleged actions were driven by frustration that “the 2-year-old baby was running around and was keeping him awake.”
Ortiz, said Deenihan, “grabs the 2-year-old in the kitchen and holds him down, then retrieves a knife, cuts the baby in the throat, causing his death.”
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Realizing the boy was dead, “he makes a pretty weak attempt to cut his own wrists;” he would eventually receive stitches to close the self-inflicted wounds.
“After realizing he killed his baby, he found a garbage bag full of clothes, he dumped out the clothes, and placed the baby in the bag,” said Deenihan.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson called the killing “brutal and horrific” during Thursday’s press conference.
“Mateo wasn’t old enough to make a bad decision,” Johnson said. “Mateo wasn’t old enough to take the wrong path in life. He was just an innocent kid whose trust and safety was betrayed by the one man he should never have to question: his father.”
Ortiz was arrested Wednesday night in Kankakee, Illinois — about an hour’s drive from Chicago.
Police allege that Ortiz called his wife after the killing, but was not able to reach her at work. Investigators said Ortiz and his wife work different shifts at the same business.
He then called his sister-in-law, according to investigators, and allegedly told her he had murdered her nephew; she lives in the apartment below.
The sister-in-law alerted other relatives and together, they went into Ortiz’s apartment, where they found Mateo’s lifeless body.
Deenihan told reporters a kitchen knife recovered from the crime scene is likely the murder weapon, but forensic investigators have yet to confirm that.
Ortiz and Mateo’s mother have other children together, but none were at home at the time of the killing.
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At Thursday’s press conference, Deenihan said it will take time for Mateo’s relatives as well as his detectives — many of whom have small children around Mateo’s age — to recover from Wednesday night’s trauma.
“It’s obviously pretty difficult to look in a garbage bag and see what they saw,” Deenihan said. “The officers gotta respond to this scene, they don’t know what they’re walking into, including the ambulance guys. The poor family from downstairs had to walk up and find him. These guys aren’t robots, they’re police officers, and they have families.”
Information on Ortiz’s lawyer wasn’t immediately available.
Efforts to reach Mateo’s mother were unsuccessful.