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Mother charged with manslaughter, neglect in death of toddler found in van

Posted September 6
Updated September 7

Rocio Murillo-Estrada
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— The mother of a Durham toddler who died after being found in a hot van last week was arrested and charged Tuesday.

Rocio Murillo-Estrada, 24, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony child abuse and neglect in connection with the death of three-year-old Leslie Murillo.

Officers responded to a home in the 1100 block of Hearthside Street on Aug. 29 and Leslie Murillo was pulled from a hot van by family members and pronounced dead shortly after.

Family members have said Murillo-Estrada, her mother, another adult and five children, including Leslie, were out running errands and returned home at about 3 p.m. At that point, everyone got out of the car, except for Leslie.

Family members say they assumed the child had gotten out of the van when everyone else did, but that was not the case.

It was not until her father got home and realized the 3-year-old was missing. He found her in the hot van.

Rocio Murillo-Estrada said it was all an accident.

"I love and I still love my daughter. I have four more children," she said. "It was truly an accident. I love my daughter."

Rocio Murillo-Estrada was being held at the Durham County Jail under $50,000 bond.


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  • Maggie Foege Sep 7, 2:50 p.m.
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    Ok, it seems deliberate, but still, socioeconomic or immigration status should have nothing to do with it.

  • Maggie Foege Sep 7, 12:45 p.m.
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    I am really saddened by a few of the comments here. This kind of thing has happened to many people, without a lot of children. No one questions their socioeconomic status or nationality. Have some respect. She's paying for it, no need to be so nasty. I don't understand how this could happen either, but show some compassion. Everybody has been in a position where a child could've been hurt or killed, completely by accident.

  • Charles Williams Sep 7, 9:13 a.m.
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    View quoted thread

    They most likely get food stamps and section 8...living off our dime. I hope ICE is looking into their immigration status. Sounds like a deportation is in order

  • Fred Garner Sep 7, 12:11 a.m.
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    Prison upon conviction is the ONLY appropriate sentence. Send a message.

  • Marie Brandsdorfer Sep 6, 8:48 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    This was my question.
    I have 4 children and I have only left the with a sitter a few times.
    I just can't see how in the heck this child was missed until her dad came home looking for her.

    What was SO important that you don't realize your baby is in the car.
    My heart breaks for this child and he father and siblings.

  • Benjamin Kite Sep 6, 8:12 p.m.
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    Yes, too many kids. Too much distraction, and not enough attention for each individual child. Result in this case was fatal.

  • Anita Gibson Sep 6, 8:11 p.m.
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    It is such a tragedy and my heart goes out to the family but why did no one miss this child between the time they got home and when dad got home? They assumed she got out of the van? That makes me think she either wasn't in a proper child restraint or left it to the other kids to get her out. How horrible for that little girl.

  • Stacie Hagwood Sep 6, 7:47 p.m.
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    Too many children to keep up with. Such a tragedy all the way around.

  • John White Sep 6, 7:39 p.m.
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    You can't tell from the article but it makes it sound as if she does not care.

    "I love and I still love my daughter. I have four more children," she said. "It was truly an accident. I love my daughter."

    Maybe she does not speak English and it is a poor translation of what she said.

    Who knows. It just comes across and indifferent.

  • Morris Vobserv Sep 6, 6:14 p.m.
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