Man Who Tortured His Girlfriend's 5-Year-Old Daughter with Thumbtacks Sentenced to Life for Her Murder

Jose Ruiz was sentenced to life in the death of Mercedes Losoya in 2022, per reports

<p>Mercedes Losoya/Facebook</p> Mercedes Losoya

Mercedes Losoya/Facebook

Mercedes Losoya

A Texas man will serve life in prison for abusing and killing his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter in 2022, according to multiple reports.

Mercedes Losoya died in February 2022 in San Antonio, Texas, after being taken to a local hospital by her mother and the woman's then-boyfriend, KSAT and KENS 5 reported.

Following her death, her mother's then-boyfriend Jose Ruiz was charged with injury to a child, assault bodily injury, and violation of a protective order, News 4 San Antonio reported.

On Monday, a jury in San Antonio sentenced Ruiz to life for the abuse and killing of Mercedes, KSAT, KENS 5 and News 4 San Antonio reported.

Katrina Mendoza, Mercedes’ mother and Ruiz’s ex-girlfriend, was also charged with injuring a child, but accepted a plea deal on condition that she testify against Ruiz, per KENS 5, KSAT and Texas Public Radio.

Mendoza’s own family had raised alarm about her abuse of Mercedes in the months leading up to the killing, Texas Public Radio reported.

<p>Bexar County Jail</p> Jose Angel Ruiz

Bexar County Jail

Jose Angel Ruiz

In court, Mendoza detailed the abuse Ruiz inflicted on Mercedes, per the outlets.

“He would pull Mercedes’ hair and cover her mouth and nose. Use thumbtacks on her feet,” Mendoza said, according to KSAT, adding that he would abuse her with her own urine.

He also put dog feces on the child to humiliate her, she said, per Texas Public Radio, KSAT and KENS 5.

He used the guise of "discipline" to beat Mercedes with his bare hands or the buckle of a belt, witnesses testified, according to Texas Public Radio.

In court, medical examiners said Mercedes died from a condition that stems from toxin protein released into the blood from damaged muscle – a result of her physical abuse, per the outlet. 

<p>Mercedes Losoya/Facebook</p> Mercedes Losoya

Mercedes Losoya/Facebook

Mercedes Losoya

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Dr. Rajesh Kannan, who conducted the autopsy on the child’s body, said in court that she had “extensive” trauma, according to Texas Public Radio.

“From top to bottom. All over the body,” Dr. Kannan testified, according to the outlet.

Ruiz was given life in prison on one count, 20 years in prison on another, and 10 years in prison on six other counts, per KSAT. Mendoza faces up to 45 years in prison as part of her plea deal, KENS 5 reported.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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