A Mexican man has reportedly confessed to beating and sexually assaulting a Ridgway 2-year-old before tossing him into a swimming pool and leaving him to drown in the beach village north of Puerto Vallarta where the boy was vacationing with his parents.
Police in the Mexican state of Nayarit have arrested Eleodoro Carlos Rodríguez Sánchez, who also goes by the name of Carlos Roberto Tapia Sánchez and the alias of "El Cholo."
Sánchez, 30, is being held on suspicion of sexual assault and murder of a minor. Newspapers in that area reported Sánchez, who had a black eye and bruises in his mug shots, made a statement to police admitting he assaulted the boy and threw him in the pool on Feb. 28.
Police also arrested his former girlfriend, Nancy Saralee Solorio Pérez, 19, on suspicion of murder because she allegedly did nothing to stop the killing.
According to a police report, Solorio Pérez was babysitting Axel Charrette, 2, and his brother Kalden Charrette, 7, when Sánchez came to the home Randy and Jen Charrette had rented in Sayulita. The Charrette family had been staying there since early January as part of an extended road trip from their home in Ridgway.
According the report, Solorio Pérez told police that Sánchez came in through a garage door and that when she went to check on the kids after apparently hiding for a few minutes, she found Axel's naked and lifeless body in the swimming pool. The boy was taken to a hospital in nearby San Pancho, where doctors determined he had been beaten and sexually assaulted before he died of drowning.
Kalden was reportedly playing in another part of the home and was unhurt.
Randy and Jen Charrette released a statement this week to The Watch newspaper in Ridgway, with a conflicting account. They wrote that the babysitter had let Sánchez into the locked gates of the home and then hid in a closet when she determined that her former boyfriend was in a violent, drug-induced state.
"The boyfriend, for reasons unknown, hurt Axel, then threw him in the pool, leaving him to drown," the Charrettes wrote in a message that has cast a pall of grief over their western Colorado town of 900.
Ridgway Town Manager Jen Coates could only sob when contacted by phone about the murder.
The Charrettes are back in Ridgway but are staying secluded, according to friends.
The Mexican Consulate General of Denver issued a statement Wednesday saying, "On behalf of the government of Mexico we express our deepest condolences to the Charrette family."
Consulate spokesman Jorge Lizcano said that local authorities in Nayarit will investigate and prosecute the case "to its final consequences under Mexican law."
The Charrettes had been in Sayulita, a beach town called one of the safest places to stay in Mexico by Sunset Magazine, since Jan. 4.
They had sold many of their possessions and rented out their Ridgway home and planned to travel with their children.
In their blog about their trip, the Charrettes had written that they were happy to find their rental in Sayulita was "a secure house with parking ... a huge fenced yard and a swimming pool."
In the days leading up to Axel's death, they blogged about mountain biking and surfing, and about lesser family tragedies the family had encountered — Kalden had been briefly hospitalized with a stomach illness two days earlier and their 13-year-old dog had been injured by another dog.
They wrote that they planned to stay in Sayulita for another month and then to possibly travel further south into Mexico.
Nancy Lofholm: 970-256-1957, email@example.com or twitter.com/nlofholm
Staff writer Yesenia Robles contributed to this report.