By Robert Pierce
Leader & Times
The district attorney in Beaver County, Okla., is pursuing charges against a Turpin, Okla., couple suspected of killing their 4-year-old child.
On Aug. 27, county attorney Mike Boring said an officer with the Liberal Police Department notified the Beaver County Sheriff's office that a child was dead in the emergency room at Southwest Medical Center in Liberal.
Boring said the sheriff's office then requested assistance from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
"They did go to the hospital in Liberal, where they did determine that there was a 4-year-old child that was deceased," he said. "They began investigation, and in the early morning hours of the next morning, they made arrests on allegations of child abuse of Yasmani Rodriguez and Silvia Vargas, the natural mother of the child."
The child has been identified as Noel Vargas, and the couple has been in custody since those arrests.
"We have them," Boring said. "Ms. Vargas is appearing [Sept. 3] for initial appearance for formal charges being filed against her for enabling child abuse. That is the only charge we anticipate filing at this point. There's a potential for other charges to be filed."
Boring said Rodriguez is likewise facing charges, with two counts in the case.
"Count one is murder in the first degree," the district attorney said. "The second account is child abuse. I anticipate he will be formally arraigned or do an initial appearance in district court in Beaver County tomorrow."
Boring said investigations are not complete at this time and are just in the initial phase of the case.
"It is ongoing," he said. "I anticipate that will continue for some time. We will do a complete backgrounds investigation, and we do not have a formal written report from the medical examiner's office in Oklahoma at this point. I do not know when we will receive that. I'm hopeful we will get an ME report sometime in the next week to 10 days."
Boring said the injuries sustained by the child were at the family's home in Turpin.
"The family has lived there a short while," he said. "Previously, they lived in Liberal. I think they've been in Turpin in this home for approximately a month. That's a part of our investigation that's not been completed. The mother was employed in Liberal and worked at a restaurant there."
Boring said with the type of charges being filed against the couple, a trial is several steps down the road.
"We will go through initial phases in the proceedings here that will involve making sure that Mr. Rodriguez and Miss Vargas both have counsel to represent them," he said. "At that point, a determination will be made with respect to whether or not they wish to have a preliminary hearing. I would expect that would be at least a couple months down the road."
Boring added a trial date also depends on factors such as court schedules and when the couple can secure counsel for their cases.
"There are a number of variables in that, so it's virtually impossible to give you a timeline on the preliminary hearing phase," he said. "After that, it would be set on the next felony docket if they're bound over at preliminary hearing."
A Rosary and vigil for Vargas is scheduled for 7 p.m. today at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Liberal. There will be a funeral mass at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the church, with burial to follow at Restlawn Cemetery.
In the boy's obituary from Brenneman's, it listed his father as "Gustavo Vargas, of Mexico," and his mother, "Silvia Diaz of Turpin." It also noted he is survived by four brothers and one sister.