Slain 8-year-old ‘was the perfect kid,’ his aunt says — (The Daily Reflector)

To view original article click here

The Daily Reflector (Greenville, NC)

November 22, 2000

Author: Cynthia Kopkowski, The Daily Reflector []

Angel Eduardo Pineda-Aguirre was an athletic youth and dedicated student who never missed a day of school.  When he wasn’t playing basketball or practicing karate, the 8-year-old could be found playing Nintendo games in the living room of his family’s Pitt County house.

Even though Pokemon video games were his favorite after-school activity, he always left time for homework from his second-grade classes, a family member said Wednesday.

“He was very responsible,” said the boy’s aunt, who lived with him and his mother at the Heber Hudson Road house where he was killed Tuesday.

Pineda-Aguirre died Tuesday of an apparent asphyxiation. Pitt County sheriff’s deputies charged his mother, Mirna Aguirre-Palma, 25, with murder in connection with the death.

She was arraigned Tuesday and transported to the Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh Wednesday for psychiatric evaluation.

“He loved karate and basketball and doing good in school ­ he was the perfect kid,” said his aunt, who asked the newspaper to withhold her name.

A native of Mexico City, Mexico, Pineda-Aguirre moved between his home country to the United States several times, his aunt said. The family moved to their current house in Pitt County three months ago and he began second grade at Chicod Elementary School.

“It’s been hard for him,” she said. “He moved a lot, went to a lot of different schools, but he handled it very well. Here, he had everything he needed.”

The boy’s mother was taking medication for depression, his aunt said Wednesday.

The problems started in her teen years,” she said. “We don’t know what went wrong yesterday.”

Aguirre-Palma will undergo a series of psychiatric tests at Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh at the request of the Pitt County Public Defender’s Office, said Gary Johnson, chief investigator with the office.

Preliminary autopsy results indicate asphyxiation by neck impressions killed her son. The boy also suffered stab wounds.

“Everybody that is charged with first-degree murder most of the time is given a psychiatric evaluation,” Johnson said. “It gives not only the defense, but also the state, a grasp of what we’re dealing with.”

The current charge against Aguirre-Palma is murder. The district attorney’s office could reclassify the charge later as first-degree or second -degree murder.

A motive for the killing has not been determined, Pitt County Sheriff Mac Manning said.

Psychiatric testing should last 5-10 ten days, Johnson said. Throughout that time, doctors at Dorthea Dix will be in contact with Pitt County investigators.

Whether Aguirre-Palma is placed on a suicide watch in the Pitt County Detention Center will depend on doctors’ recommendations, Johnson said.

After testing, the suspect will be placed in the detention center without bond until a district court appearance on Jan. 19.

Johnson described Aguirre-Palma as distraught after talking with her Tuesday. They did not discuss events surrounding the boy’s death, Johnson said.

Deputies arrested Aguirre-Palma Tuesday morning at the family’s house on Heber Hudson Road, where investigators believe the killing occurred.

She called 911 just before 8 a.m. Tuesday, telling dispatchers her child was sick, said investigator K.L. Kilpatrick.

Emergency workers arriving at 1837 Heber Hudson Road found the boy dead in the house’s bathtub.

(c) 2000, 2005 Cox Newspapers, Inc. – The Daily Reflector      Record Number:  108DD63758485B1D