A Jackson County man was charged Friday with torture and child abuse after being arrested Wednesday in Blackman Township.
Daniel Ronquillo, 24, was arraigned on two counts of torture and two counts of first degree child abuse. Police say Ronquillo intentionally burned his girlfriend's 1-year-old and 2-year-old children with scalding hot water.
According to police, Ronquillo held down the children in water hotter than 130 degrees while the mother was out of town for the day, and they were in his care in the 4100-block of Sir Michael Court. The children suffered second- and third-degree burns over the bottom halves of their bodies, and remain in serious condition at the University of Michigan hospital. Police say their recovery will be long and require many skin grafts.
"The extent of injuries especially to two fragile children is hard for our officers to take," said Blackman Township Public Safety Deputy Director John Johnston. "Many of them having children that age as well. Our hopes are obviously with the children as they go through a very tough recovery process."
Ronquillo also has a previous record, including an attempted third degree criminal sexual conduct conviction and a similar conviction from a juvenile case. Prosecutors say the evidence against Ronquillo is very strong.
"The injuries here were quite appalling. They really were," said Jackson County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mark Blumer. "We have tried torture cases in the past. Our county was the first to do it successfully. We know what goes into it, we have experience doing it, and we feel this is an appropriate case for that level of a charge."
During the arraignment, Blumer requested that Ronquillo be cut off from all outside contact other than his attorney. Blumer feared Ronquillo and his girlfriend, the mother of the children, were already attempting to manipulate evidence after a phone call between them last night. Judge Joseph Filip agreed to this request.
Ronquillo is being held without bond pending a further investigation and conference set for June 8.
Child Protective Services are also investigating the incident.