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Man Convicted of Beating Girlfriend’s Toddler to Death, Causing Head Injuries, Bruised Lungs, and ‘Swelling of Both the Penis and Testicles’

David Vasquez Malave

David Vasquez Malave

A Florida man will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for brutally killing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son in the summer of 2020. A jury in Hillsborough County found David Vasquez Malave guilty of aggravated first-degree murder while engaged in aggravated child abuse in the death of young Kaydan Guerrero, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a probable cause affidavit, deputies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 9:15 a.m. on July 19, 2020 responded to an emergency call concerning an unresponsive toddler at an address located in the 9000 block of Windermere Lake Drive. The caller, later identified as Malave, said his “son” was not breathing. The boy was not his child.

Upon arriving at the scene, deputies said Malave was holding Kaydan and performing CPR on the boy. Deputies continued the life-saving procedures until Hillsborough County Fire Rescue paramedics arrived. Medics transported Kaydan to Tampa General Hospital with “life-threatening injuries.”

“Based on the severity of the injuries and condition of the child as well as concerns of possible abusive injuries to the chest observed by HCFR, Criminal Investigations Division detectives responded to the scene to investigate further,” the affidavit states.

In an interview with investigators, Malave said he’d been caring for Kaydan at a Motel 6 since dropping off the boy’s mother, Deyaneira Lopez, at a homeless shelter the previous evening. He said that earlier in the day, he’d pulled onto the side of the road to change Kaydan’s diaper, positioning the child in the rear driver’s side seat with his feet hanging out of the vehicle.

“He removed the diaper and went to the trunk to get a new diaper. He heard a noise, which he attributed to Kaydan’s foot striking the door. He looked and saw Kaydan on the pavement laying just outside the door with one of his feet still in the jamb of the door near the footwell,” police wrote in the affidavit. “He collected the child and placed him back in the car. He wiped blood from the child’s mouth but did not initially think the child was seriously injured. As he drove toward his mother’s residence, he noticed the child becoming unresponsive.”

When investigators first spoke to Malave after taking Kaydan to the hospital, they described his demeanor as “calm and jovial,” saying he “laughed on the phone and spoke about topics unrelated to the investigation.”

The car Malave drove was registered to Lopez, who consented to a warrantless search of the vehicle. Inside, investigators found blood on the rear driver’s side door and the footwell. There was also blood on several baby wipes and napkins.

Doctors initially said the toddler was in “critical and unstable condition” after suffering “bruised lungs, subdural hematomas, bruising on the forehead, a laceration on the right side of the forehead, bruising to the chest/ribs/sternum, bruising to the side of the neck, a laceration on the head of the penis, and swelling of both the penis and testicles/scrotum.” Hospital staff told law enforcement that the child’s injuries appeared to have been caused by non-accidental trauma.

Lopez told police that she had been leaving Kaydan in Malave’s care because she couldn’t bring him to the shelter, but said she’d noticed unexplained injuries on the boy in the days before his death.

“A Child Protection Team examination was performed on Kaydan Guerrero on Monday, July 20, 2020, which concluded the head injury appeared to incorporate multiple, complex events and was inconsistent with a singular fall. The genital injuries also had the appearance of being abuse-related,” the affidavit stated. “Kaydan Guerrero was determined to have no brain activity by medical staff at T.G.H. and was pronounced deceased at 1624 hours on July 20, 2020.”

Malave is scheduled to appear before Circuit Judge Samantha Ward for his sentencing hearing on July 7. He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Read the affidavit below.

[image via Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.