Medical examiner details toddler's death after being left in car
Guam - As a senior probation officer, Anthony Morcilla frequents the courthouse. This time however, he's the subject of legal proceedings, having been charged with the negligent murder of his two-year-old daughter, Amanda Tenorio.
As the island's chief medical examiner, Dr. Aurelio Espinola was in charge of conducting the autopsy on the toddler last April. "The cause of death was suffocation and second degree burn of 48% of the body surface," he explained.
Dr. Espinola took to the stand this morning as a witness for the prosecution in the Anthony Morcilla trial.
Morcilla is accused of leaving his daughter in his truck for hours while he was at work at the Probation Office, just next door to the Superior Court of Guam.
Morcilla is charged with negligent murder, leaving a child in a motor vehicle, and child abuse.
As Espinola continued his testimony, he detailed the gruesome affects the heat from inside Morcilla's Toyota Tundra had on Amanda's body. "There was a second degree burn on the forehead and both sides of the face and also second degree burns on the upper extremities. I forgot that there were also particular hemorrhages on the right eyelids," he said. "There was also second degree burns on the lower extremities and in the vulva - the genital organ."
And while her skin burned, her internal organs literally cooked. "It looks a little cooked because of the heat. There was no burn but there was an affect of heat. It looked like the organs are partially cooked," he explained.
In addition, he reports her heart and stomach empty and her lungs bleeding. "I noticed that there was areas of bleeding in the lungs. Because of the lack of oxygen," he said. "I remember that the heart was empty. No blood. That's unusual. The stomach was empty."
Today's look at photos of the truck's backseat that day show her empty carseat with signs of a thick, yellowish dried substance - what appears to be vomit.
Although most would feel queasy at such a sight, during cross examination by defense attorney Curtis Van De Veld, Dr. Espinola revealed that in his decades of experience with over 20,000 bodies examined, he's seen deaths like Amanda's many times before.
"Here on Guam very rare, but in the States I have at least once a month," he said.
Van De Veld reminded the court that it's not Dr. Espinola's responsibility to determine who was at fault for Amanda's death, but that of the jurors.
Trial will continue on Monday with defense slated to present its case.