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Hawaii island man arrested in death of 19-month-old toddler

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:28 p.m. HST, Jan 28, 2014

A 38-year-old Mountain View man was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder in connection with the 2011 murder of a 19-month-old toddler in Hilo.

Xavier J. Cortez Jr., also known as Pee Wee Cortez, is being held at Hawaii Community Correctional Center. His bail was set at $1,000,000.

At 9:40 a.m. Tuesday, police, armed with an arrest warrant, acted on a tip and took Cortez into custody at a home in the Livingston subdivision in Mountain View.

On Jan. 2, 2011, police received a report that 19-month-old Pomaikai Ferreira had been taken to Hilo Medical Center and was experiencing difficulties breathing. She was transferred by air ambulance to The Queen's Medical Center on Oahu, where she died seven days later.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Ferreira ruled the death a homicide as a result of craniocerebral injuries due to, or as a consequence of, abusive head trauma.

Cortez was initially arrested for first-degree assault on the day of the incident. He was later released pending further investigation by detectives. Cortez was the boyfriend of the toddler's mother.

On Jan. 22, a Hawaii County grand jury indicted Cortez on a charge of second-degree murder, but the indictment was sealed pending Cortez's arrest.

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Suspect in toddler's 2011 murder is arrested

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