Man could face death penalty for alleged fatal beating, sexual assault of toddler

A 28-year-old man pleaded not guilty in San Mateo County Superior Court this week to sexually abusing and murdering his girlfriend’s young daughter.

Daniel Contreras of Redwood City could face the death penalty if convicted of murder and felony child abuse, among other charges, for the death of the 17-month-old girl, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said, who noted the case is particularly gruesome.

“It’s a shocking set of facts,” Wagstaffe said Wednesday of Contreras’ alleged crimes.

On Aug. 6, 2015, Contreras’ girlfriend of two months reportedly left her daughter in the care of Contreras for the first time. Over the course of several hours, Contreras repeatedly sexually molested the young girl, prosecutors said.

When the girl wouldn’t stop crying, Contreras allegedly beat her to death, then called his mother and aunt, lying by saying the girl had fallen off a changing table, according to prosecutors.

She was dead by the time police arrived at the apartment in the 400 block of Madison Avenue at about 2:30 p.m.

Contreras repeated his story to authorities, but he was arrested two days later when the investigation revealed that the girl had been beaten to death, prosecutors said.

Contreras pleaded not guilty at his superior court arraignment Tuesday, and a pretrial conference was scheduled for Dec. 12. He had also pleaded not guilty at his initial arraignment last year.

Contreras remains in custody without bail. Wagstaffe said Wednesday he has not yet determined whether to seek the death penalty for Contreras.Daniel ContrerasPeninsulaSteve Wagstaffe

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