Police investigating the death of 19-month old

Published: Jan. 11, 2011 at 5:19 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2011 at 12:03 AM HST
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Xavier "Pee Wee" Cortez, Jr.
Xavier "Pee Wee" Cortez, Jr.

By Teri Okita – bio | email

Hilo (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police in Hilo have opened up an investigation into the suspicious death of a 19 month old Wainaku girl.  An unidentified adult took little Pomaikai Ferreira to the Hilo Medical Center on January 2nd.  Ferreira was unresponsive.  Police would not elaborate on her injuries.

The toddler was flown to the Queen's Medical Center on Oahu - where she died a week later, on January 9th.

Hilo police arrested 36-year-old Xavier "Pee Wee" Cortez, Jr. on suspicion of first-degree assault.  Police say Cortez and Ferreira's mother did have a relationship. Cortez was taken into custody on January 2nd at the Riverside apartments in Hilo - where the mother and daughter were living. Two days later, he was released without being charged, pending further investigation.

Preliminary pathological reports indicate the baby died as a result of an "inter-cranial injury due to repetitive abusive head trauma."

Detectives are awaiting the complete autopsy results from the Medical Examiner's Office on Oahu, where the examination was performed.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case call Detective Norbert Serrao at 961-2383 or Detective Derek Morimoto at 961-2380.

Ferreira is the third Wainaku toddler in the last two years to die under suspicious circumstances or because of abuse.

In April 2009, Wainaku toddler Iyanla Kuamoo-Andrews died of blunt force trauma to her head. The toddler's father, Henry Kuamoo was arrested on suspicion of abuse but was later released. So far, the case is still an open murder investigation.

And in September 2009, five-year-old Javieanne Win was found in a bathtub of a home in Wainaku.  31-year-old Anthony Poulin plead not guilty to raping and murdering the little girl. His trial is set for early March.  He and Win's mother, Jennifer Abiley, had been living together.

For more information, see the complete story tonight on Hawaii News Now.

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