Update: Details of toddler's abuse and death released - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

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Update: Details of toddler's abuse and death released

HUNT COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A Hunt County search warrant says that Arturo Vega Jr. admitted to police that he beat Brandon Herrera with a belt at least 10 times Saturday night, telling police he "lost it."

Wednesday, he sat in a Hunt County courtroom, charged with murdering the boy.

Sitting apart from him, his girlfriend Gabriella Ortiz, wearing a matching bulletproof vest. Authorities say that's for their protection.

"We always try to be careful when emotions run so high," said Hunt County Chief Deputy Joe Knight.

High emotions are to be expected given some of the details surrounding Brandon's injuries. Search warrants show that he had open wounds and cuts all over his little body.

A search of Vega and Ortiz's home and car discovered a bloodstained T-shirt, as well as a belt and a wooden stick that may have been used on the toddler.

Brandon's prosthetic right leg was also found in the home.

The child was also bruised on his face, something documents say Ortiz said was her fault. She told investigators that she had grabbed Brandon's face and shook his head, in an effort to wake him up.

Outside the court, a man that's known Gabriella's family for years, says her parents are in shock.

"Him and his wife are both very tender loving parents," said Larry Middlebrooks. "And I think if they had known anything about that going on, that would have been stopped real quick.

It's not clear how long Brandon Herrera had been a victim of abuse. What is clear is just how seriously Hunt County authorities are taking the protection of the couple accused of his murder.

Armed guards were on hand as the pair was rushed to county vehicles waiting outside the courthouse.

The warrant in this case includes a statement from Ortiz that her cousin, Brandon's mother, would often ask Ortiz to take him because she couldn't handle him. Ortiz and Vega are being held on a 2-million dollar bond in the Hunt County jail.

Copyright 2011 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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