Charges filed in murder of Blaine, Minnesota toddler

Criminal charges have been filed against a Blaine, Minnesota man and woman following the death of 2-year-old boy and kidnapping of a 5-year-old girl.

Nelson Soto-Lopez, 24, was charged with second-degree murder. The toddler’s mother, 26-year-old Heydi Jaqueline Aguilera-Bustillo, was charged with second-degree manslaughter, aiding an offender and child endangerment.

“This innocent little boy died a violent death,” said Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo. “It is our responsibility to see justice done on his behalf.”

Aguilera-Bustillo had her first court appearance Thursday morning in Anoka County. Bail was set at $1 million. Soto-Lopez remains in custody in Missouri, until he can be extradited to Minnesota.

What happened

At approximately 7:07 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, Blaine police officers were called to the Blaine Medical Center on Ulysses Street NE on a report of an unresponsive child. The officers and medical staff were unable to revive the child and he was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the criminal complaint, the boy had multiple skull fractures and bleeding over his brain -- the result of blunt force trauma.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension issued a statewide alert for Nelson Soto-Lopez and the missing 5-year-old girl on Tuesday. A joint investigation between the Blaine Police Department and the Anoka County sheriff’s office led to information that Soto-Lopez fled the Twin Cities.

“Information at this time indicates that Soto-Lopez hired an unwitting individual to provide transportation to Kansas City, Missouri, who was unaware of Soto-Lopez’s crimes or that he was wanted by police,” the Anoka County sheriff’s office said Wednesday.

Investigators were able to contact the driver, who immediately cooperated and provided information that led to the capture of Soto-Lopez and the recovery of the missing child.

According to investigators, Soto-Lopez was driven to Kansas City and was met there by his father and stepmother. Police believe Soto-Lopez was trying to get to Arkansas, where he has other family members.

Law enforcement agencies were contacted and an alert Missouri State Police Officer spotted the suspect vehicle, took Soto-Lopez into custody and recovered the missing child.