On Thursday, police arrested a father from Texas after investigators determined he likely deliberately abused and starved his four-year-old son to death last summer.
Brandon Lee Cervera, 28, was charged with one count of bodily harm to a child with the intent to cause serious bodily harm this week after investigators uncovered “disturbing evidence” that he abused his son Benjamin Cervera.
According to an arrest report obtained by KSAT, mobile phone video seized by San Antonio police showed 4-year-old Benjamin starving, “beating his head with his hands and begging for bread.”
In one video, the toddler was “shaking uncontrollably, crying and begging for bread and water” while Servera and another relative denied his request. Another video showed Benjamin being forced to drink hand sanitizer and “beg for water while crying and waving his hand in front of his mouth saying it was on fire.”
The footage also shows the child being forced to “eat breadcrumbs off the bathroom floor with no hands.”
Benjamin was also shown in photographs with “heavily bruised and swollen” eyes.
Authorities launched an investigation into Cervera after he brought Benjamin to the emergency room in August 2021. The child was unconscious, covered in bruises that were in various stages of healing, and looked extremely malnourished. He died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Servera claimed that Benjamin caused the injury to himself. However, an autopsy conducted by the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office found that they were the result of physical abuse. The report also concluded that starvation was the cause of the child’s death.
Brandon Lee Cervera, 28 (pictured), was arrested Thursday and charged with a count of bodily harm to a child with intent to cause serious bodily harm in connection with the death of his four-year-old son Benjamin Cervera on August 17, 2021.
Police launched an investigation into Server’s alleged abuse of Benjamin after a San Antonio Children’s Hospital nurse called 911 on August 17, 2021.
Servera brought Benjamin to the facility in “a condition indicative of abuse,” according to KABB.
Benjamin, who was two months away from his fifth birthday, was unconscious, had multiple bruises and wounds, looked malnourished and was wearing a disposable diaper.
Medical personnel tried to resuscitate the boy, but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead minutes after arriving at the hospital.
Homicide detectives were called to the hospital and questioned Servera, who stated that all of Benjamin’s injuries were self-inflicted.
He also claimed that a family member living in his San Antonio apartment had cell phone video proving the child had self-harmed.
Benjamin died at the San Antonio Children’s Hospital (pictured) minutes after Cervera brought him to the facility, unconscious and in “a condition suggestive of abuse”. Medical personnel tried to resuscitate the boy, but were unsuccessful. An autopsy showed that the cause of death was starvation
When detectives executed a search warrant at Cervera’s apartment, it became ostensibly clear that the child had been abused by his father.
Police said the kitchen cabinets, pantry and refrigerator were equipped with locks, which they claim were used to prevent Benjamin from accessing food.
Investigators also found a padlock attached to the door of the children’s bedroom, which contained only a heavily urine-stained mattress.
Photo and video footage also showed the progress of Benjamin’s physical deterioration until his death.
Servera was taken into custody on Thursday and is currently being held at the Bexar County Jail. His bail was set at $500,000, prisoner records show.
He is due to appear before a judge at a preliminary hearing on March 29.
The father is also due to begin a jury trial next month on a 2018 threat and harassment charge.
The relative, whose mobile phone was seized by police as evidence, was reportedly not charged with Benjamin’s death.