SAN ANTONIO — A 5-year-old girl is dead after another horrific case of child abuse in Bexar County.
Thursday night, her mother, Katrina Mendoza, was taken into custody and charged with injury to a child. The mother's boyfriend, Jose Ruiz, was arrested Thursday morning on the same charge.
Arrest documents detail weeks of torture and abuse.
KENS 5 sat down with family members who say the bruises and neglect began shortly after the girl was born.
5-year-old Mercedes Losoya was known for having a big, loving heart.
"Very sweet. She loved God. She loved going to church. She loved school. She loved her sissy," said Mercedes' great-aunt, Emily Losoya.
The father's side of the family says Child Protective Services called Wednesday, telling them tragedy struck when Mercedes and her sister were in their mother's care.
"It's sad to say, but we automatically knew it was something with Mercedes," said Losoya. "[Her mother] had a lot of anger towards Mercedes. I don't know why, but she favored [the sister] and I saw that right off the bat."
For as long as the Losoya family can remember, they say they always noticed injuries on Mercedes.
"Bruising, bruises, all on her face, her arms and everything," said Mercedes' paternal grandmother, Vanessa Losoya, who added that Mercedes once got a haircut with bangs to cover the bruising on her forehead.
She says the abuse and neglect began just weeks after Mercedes was born.
"Weeks old. They said she hadn't had a bottle in two to three days," said Emily. "She told me herself, 'I don't have a bond with Mercedes. I can't bond with her'."
The Losoyas claim they tried to get custody of Mercedes, but were unsuccessful.
"[Katrina] had old paperwork, so [CPS] would favor whatever she said," said Emily. "We've all said it's going to take death to make [CPS] realize that Katrina is not fit to be the mom to those kids."
Mercedes' father told KENS 5 that he last saw his daughters in October. Since then, he said their mother wouldn't allow him to see the girls.
"My son had no part of what happened to my granddaughter," said Vanessa.
Arrest documents reveal in disturbing detail the torture and extreme abuse Mercedes went through at the hands of her mother's boyfriend, Jose Angel Ruiz. The Losoya family believes Ruiz had been in a relationship with Mendoza for three to four months.
The document says the girl experienced countless hits to her body, among other forms of torture we are choosing to omit from this article. Investigators believe the recent abuse took place at Ruiz's apartment. Police executed a search warrant at the home and said "items of evidentiary value were found."
"When we found out we were like, 'Who in their right mind could do that to a child?'" said Mercedes' cousin, Crystal Trinidad. "As a mother, you fight for your kids. You protect them. She failed her, just like CPS failed her."
Mercedes' mother took her to a south-side hospital Monday, where she was pronounced dead. Police say the girl's body was swollen and covered in bruises and cuts.
A doctor with the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office, who conducted an autopsy, told police it was "...obvious the victim suffered extreme abuse and torture", and explained "...there was no clear or obvious injury that caused the victim's death and further investigation would be required to make a conclusion as to the cause and manner."
"Because I couldn't help her, because [her father] couldn't help her, we all couldn't help her, [Heaven is] a better place for her than where she lived in the five years she was here on Earth," said Emily.
The Losoya family held a candlelight vigil Thursday night to pay tribute to Mercedes, in hopes justice will prevail in court.
"[Katrina] called me and explained to me what happened and she said, 'Please forgive me Vanessa, I'm sorry.' I told her, 'I'm not the one you need to ask for forgiveness. You need to get on your knees and you need to ask God to forgive you, because I can't do it'," said Vanessa. "She had other relationships prior to this, and they would only abuse Mercedes."