Teenager Erik Mendoza, aged 15, was apprehended and David Pietura, aged 27, was arrested after they stabbed, beat to death and hid the corpse of Prince McCree, just 5 years old. The child’s body was found on the 26th “soaked in blood, tied and gagged” in a trash container, near a condominium located in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.
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The mother, whose identity was not revealed, says that, on the day of the crime, Prince did not go to school because he was sick. He then asked to play video games with Pietura in the basement, which he often did. The mother agreed. Later, when she went to get him, the basement was dark and empty. Prince was reported missing around 6 p.m.
Police initiated a search warrant at the location, in partnership with the International K9 Unit. Investigators noticed that there was “blood on the cement floor and near the rugs.” Pietura, who was following the search, immediately began rearranging the carpets to hide the stains, and gave the excuse of a fight between himself and Mendoza. Blood, he said, had run from the teenager’s nose. However, more blood was found on a “duvet on a chair and a blanket that served as a divider.” “A large amount of blood on the man’s right leg” was also recorded.
With the discovery of the stains, Pietura then stated that the teenager had “talked for some time about wanting to kill someone”. The victim was chosen, according to the documents, because Mendoza “never liked” the child.
The documents cited by the report indicate that Pietura watched Mendoza suffocate the child until she was immobile. He left the room, but returned shortly afterwards. The inmate stated that they would have to “clean up” the scene. Thick black tape was placed around Prince’s hands and feet and pieces of cloth were used to cover the child’s mouth and muffle his screams in case he woke up, then sealing him with tape.
Upon noticing that the child returned to consciousness, the teenager said that they “needed to shut him up”. The 27-year-old man threw several punches at the child and, as he continued crying, Mendoza began stomping on his head. A 30-pound object was also thrown at the child.
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Thinking that the victim was already dead, they placed the body inside several black bags. More blows were delivered with a baseball bat after the defendants heard “noises” coming from the child.
During the search warrant, the K9 Unit, which works with sniffer dogs, alerted to an “odor of decomposition at the base of the basement stairs.” There, three hoodies were hanging behind the door. Pietura was caught on security cameras using one of them while carrying the boy’s remains.
The victim’s body was found around 9 a.m. in a trash container, behind a bar, about 1 kilometer away from his home, People magazine reported.
Mendonza was detained and denied hurting Prince “in any way.” Later, however, he claimed that he strangled the child and then stabbed three other people. Police seized from him a black-handled butterfly knife, used in the attacks.
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Pietura and Mendoza will face charges of first-degree intentional homicide, physical abuse of a child followed by death and concealment of a corpse. Mendoza is also accused of stabbing three other people on October 23, the magazine added.
The complaint, cited by the Daily Mail, stated that the person arrested “admitted he was bored, went out and stabbed the first victim in the back.” The document also states that he “really wanted” to stab someone, but that afterwards “he felt bad”. When asked about the victims of the attacks, he replied: “I’m sorry, but at least you’re alive.”
Mendoza appeared in court on October 31. Pietura, in turn, should have appeared for a preliminary hearing this Monday, but did not appear because he did not yet have a public defender. There is no information about the new hearing date. The teenager is expected to return to court on November 28th.
According to the preliminary autopsy report carried out by the county Medical Examiner’s Office, Prince died from multiple injuries caused by “brute force”, People reported.
On the 31st, Prince’s father, who was also not identified, reportedly confronted Mendoza, through tears:
— You did this to my baby. Erik, you destroyed us.