Metro-East News

Dad who police say dropped off nameless, malnourished baby is free on $10K cash bond

Elyssa A. Arellano and Matthew D. Espino-Tonche
Elyssa A. Arellano and Matthew D. Espino-Tonche Provided

The father of the nameless baby girl brought to Memorial Hospital East on Nov. 20 has been released from jail after $10,000 in cash was posted for his release on bond.

A lawyer for 21-year-old Matthew D. Espino-Tonche filed a motion Monday to reduce his bail from $250,000, arguing the accused father did not have the required 10 percent in cash to post bond. The attorney argued that Espino-Tonche is a longtime resident of the metro-east and has appeared for all court hearings in the case.

The Shiloh man was arrested Nov. 20 after police said he brought his infant daughter to the hospital. Police say he initially he told officers he found the baby in a trash bin, but that he later told them the child belonged to him and his 19-year-old girlfriend.

Judge Randall Kelly on Monday reduced Espino-Tonche’s bail to $100,000 — meaning the man would have to post $10,000 in cash to be released.

The judge did not provide a reason for the reduction in his order, but noted that prosecutors objected to reducing the man’s bail.

Espino-Tonche’s mother, Tonya White, of Belleville, posted his $10,000 in cash for bond, according to a bail bond sheet. Jail staff confirmed he was no longer in custody.

The baby’s mother, Elyssa Arellano, was found in a car outside the hospital shortly after the baby was brought there. She and Espino-Tonche both were arrested that night.

The infant girl, who had not been named by her parents at the time of the hospital visit, had at least one fracture in both of her arms, a deep cut behind her left knee and multiple bruises and scratches, according to an affidavit filed by Shiloh Police Detective Zachary Green. The baby also was malnourished, according to Green’s affidavit, which was part of an application for a search warrant.

The baby, who was kept in urine-soaked blankets in a storage tote, is still being cared for at Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, according to Shiloh Police Sgt. Jesse Phillips.

“I believe, from everything they told me, the baby is progressing nicely,” he said.

He said the infant is in the custody of Department of Children and Family Services, which is investigating and will determine what happens to her after she is released from the hospital.

A DCFS spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment about the infant.

The child’s mother, Arellano, remained in the St. Clair County Jail as of Saturday morning. She is represented by a public defender, who has filed a bail-reduction request on her behalf. However, a judge had not issued a ruling on her request as of Friday afternoon.

Both parents are facing one felony count of aggravated battery to a child and a misdemeanor count of endangering a child.

Espino-Tonche appeared for his arraignment Friday, where his lawyer requested to see all the evidence in the case within seven days. His lawyer, Madelyn Daley, of the Belleville law firm Daley, Sheafor & Roustio, did not immediately return calls for comment.