Jail for parents who beat 2-year-old daughter to death

The Elizabeth man and woman who beat their 2-year-old daughter to death a little more than three years ago have been sentenced to a combined total of 53 years in state prison for the crime.

Jorge Orozco, 33, was sentenced to 37 years after being convicted of charges of first-degree aggravated manslaughter and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, while Raquel Ramirez, 33, was sentenced to 16 years after being convicted of second-degree reckless manslaughter and second-degree endangering.

Orozco must serve more than 28 years of his sentence, and Ramirez must serve more than 12 years of hers, before either becomes eligible for parole under terms set down Friday by state Superior Court Judge John Deitch.

Shortly before 8 p.m. on Sunday, February 2, 2014, first responders rushed to an apartment on the 200 block of Westfield Avenue in Elizabeth to find 2-year-old Dayanna Orozco unresponsive, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernadas Jr., who prosecuted the case.

The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene, Cernadas said.

An intensive joint investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force and Elizabeth Police Department followed, revealing that the victim had suffered broken bones and severe internal injuries as a result of repeated physical assaults by Jorge Orozco and Ramirez over the weekend, Cernadas said.

Cernadas said there were bruises on the child’s face, back and abdomen, as well as bite marks on her cheek, arm, abdomen and back, that investigators determined were inflicted by Jorge Orozco.

An autopsy determined the child had six broken ribs, had suffered a brain hemorrhage and several internal organs had been torn. Cernadas said the parents, who did not live together, were both watching their daughter at the father’s apartment at on Westfield Avenue on Feb. 2, 2014.

By the time a relative called 911, Cernadas noted, the child had been dead for several hours.  

Ramirez bathed the child and put her down for a nap about 3 p.m., when she began vomiting and died, but no one called police until about 7:45 p.m.

Ramirez was arrested during the days following Dayanna Orozco’s death and initially was charged with aggravated assault before the offense was upgraded, and Jorge Orozco was arrested and charged in late May 2014.

Both parents were indicted two months later, and, following a month-long trial that took place in March 2017, they were convicted following one day of jury deliberation.

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