A Texas police officer was arrested after his infant child drowned in the bathtub while he argued with his estranged wife on the phone.
Raymond Licon Jr., 27, was arrested July 10 and booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility, where he was charged with criminally negligent homicide. Records show that he was released the same day after posting a $10,000 bond, according to KVIA.
Licon, a two-year veteran of the El Paso Police Department, has since been relieved of duty. According to a police spokesman, Licon was "stripped of his police powers" as opposed to being fired.
Court documents state that Licon had both of his children with him in his apartment on the evening of June 20. Around 8:30 p.m., he got into a heated dispute with his estranged wife over the phone and via text message.
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At some point during the argument, Licon went upstairs and placed his 11-month-old son, Azrael Ezekiel, in the bathtub. After turning on the water he left the bathroom and continued fighting with his wife.
In one of the text messages to his wife, Licon reportedly tells his wife that he is giving Azrael a bath.
"In the course of the text messages and voice call, the defendant forgot about the victim, whom he left in the second floor bathtub with the water running," the arrest affidavit states, according to KVIA.
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KTSM reports that Licon spoke on the phone with one other person before calling 911 at 9:19 p.m., roughly 45 minutes after his dispute with his wife began.
By that time, the bathtub had completely overflowed and the second floor of the apartment had begun to flood. Water was reportedly seeping through the floor and into the ceiling of the first floor.
It is unclear how much time the child spent alone in the bathtub.
After dialing 911, Licon unsuccessfully attempted CPR on his son. When officers arrived, he allegedly told them, as well as a few of his neighbors, that he blamed himself for the infant's death, confessing that he had accidentally left him alone in the bath.
On July 11, KVIA spoke with the child's maternal grandfather, George Montenegro.
"[Azrael] was born premature at 7 months but he's a kid I never saw cry," the grandfather said. He added: "He was an angel."
He explained that he and his family are struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.
"Everybody is broke down, my daughter is going crazy," he said.
According to Montenegro, this isn't the first time one of his grandchildren was harmed while in Licon's care.
"His daughter broke a tooth in the bathtub," he alleged. "I mean come on, you're a police officer. The first time it happens to you OK, but a second time no -- it's not a coincidence."
Montenegro went on to say he's concerned that, because he worked as a cop, Licon might not be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He said he wonders about the three-week delay between Azrael's death and Licon's arrest.
"I mean if this happens to you or me, I'll bet you $1,000 we'll be arrested that same month," he stated, adding that he feels the $10,000 bond was too low.
Montenegro said he plans to go to the FBI if he is not satisfied with the state's prosecution.