Durham teen charged with killing his baby. His family is accused of letting it happen

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A teenage father in Durham is charged with killing his 6-month-old daughter in February, and his family is accused of letting it happen.

The family of James Galan Cruz, 17, was arrested this month in connection with his arrest on first-degree murder and felony child abuse charges.

Galan Cruz, accused of killing his daughter on Feb. 25, was prohibited from providing unsupervised care of the child by the Durham County Department of Social Services, court documents show.

His sister Karen Galan Cruz, 20, and their parents Israel Cruz, 33 and Ana Raquel Cruz Calix, 44, were arrested May 1 and charged with negligent child abuse causing serious bodily injury.

Karen Galan Cruz posted a $100,000 bail bond and the parents each posted a $75,000 bail bond the same day.

The baby’s death, first reported Wednesday by WRAL, was not previously announced by the Durham Police Department, which typically issues news releases on homicide cases.

The child suffered serious injuries that proved to be fatal, including spinal cord hemorrhaging and fracture of two vertebra.

The family members are accused of committing “a grossly negligent omission” by allowing James Galan Cruz to take care of his child, according to an arrest warrant.

Galan Cruz is being held in a juvenile facility, but his case was moved to Superior Court where he will tried as an adult, the Durham County District Attorney’s office confirmed.

Details behind Durham child’s assault, death

Police told The News & Observer that officers found the child already dead after responding to a Feb. 25 call to a home on Windrush Lane.

On Oct. 19, 2022, officers had previously responded to a report of an aggravated assault at the same address and found the child — then 2 months old — had been physically assaulted, according to police.

An investigation resulted in a felony child abuse charge against a 17-year-old male in January 2023.

The N&O has asked police why it took several months to charge the suspect.

A recording of the 911 call requested by The N&O shows that an aunt of the child called about the baby on Feb. 25.

“My niece isn’t breathing,” the female caller told the operator. “She’s purple, and there’s no heartbeat.”

The operator told the caller to lay the baby down and to check for signs of choking.

The caller asked for an ambulance and said that she believed the child was dead.

She didn’t tell the operator any details about what had happened, according to the call.