New Jersey man charged in toddler's suffocation death to remain jailed

TRENTON, New Jersey -- A New Jersey man accused of suffocating and sexually assaulting his girlfriend's toddler daughter will remain jailed pending his murder trial.

A judge made the ruling Thursday during a court hearing for Maison Andres Torres.

Mercer County prosecutors say Torres had moved into his girlfriend's Trenton home two weeks after they met and killed 2-year-old Lia Victoria Merino-Rodriguez a month later. They say Torres burned the child with hot water, punched her and suffocated her by covering her mouth with his hand.

Authorities have said Torres initially claimed the toddler had fallen down the stairs while playing with her baby carriage.

The 25-year-old Torres is charged with murder, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and two counts of child endangerment. His public defender declined comment on the charges.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report
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