OGDEN — Months after his arrest in an abandoned apartment building, an Ogden man accused of killing his 10-month-old son had a lengthy day in court.
Alex Hidalgo, 38, was shackled and wearing Weber County Jail garb as he was led into an Ogden courtroom Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.
Hidalgo was arrested on July 21, a day after police found his son, Alex Jr., with large wounds to his neck before he was pronounced dead at an Ogden hospital later that day. Hidalgo is charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony; and abuse or desecration of a dead human body, a third-degree felony.
The first witness during the hearing was Angie Drake, the child’s mother who was living with Hidalgo at the time of the murder. Drake told the court that she had been out on a walk that day with the older of their two children. After the walk, she left the oldest child and Alex Jr. with their father while she went out to visit a friend.
When she returned home, Drake said she saw Hidalgo sitting on a couch reading a Bible while a preacher’s sermon was playing on the television. Drake said Hidalgo said something about an altar, and he was looking at ultrasound photos of Alex Jr.
The day prior, Hidalgo told Drake that their son had “666 on him,” but he would not elaborate what he was talking about, Drake said. She told the court that it was the second time Hidalgo had talked to her about it. She said she was going to sit down to go through Alex Jr.’s paperwork to try and find a “666” but she never got the chance.
Drake — who was having difficulty speaking during much of her testimony, tears frequently in her eyes — told the court that she began asking Hidalgo where their son was, and Hidalgo wouldn’t answer. She asked again, and Hidalgo said Alex Jr. was dead. Confused, she asked what he was talking about.
“I started pressing him, I just wanted to know where our baby was,” Drake said in court. “His eyes looked scared, and it scared me.”
She said Hidalgo asked her not to call the police, which scared her even more. Hidalgo left the apartment and jogged down a hallway before leaving the apartment building on Madison Avenue where they lived. Minutes later, Drake found the body of Alex Jr., his legs sticking out of a garbage can.
Drake grabbed Alex Jr.’s body and ran into the hallway, crying and screaming for help. A neighbor would find her and tried to perform CPR on the child as Drake called 911.
Police and paramedics arrived on scene and entered the building at the same time, according to testimony from Ogden Police Officer Tyson Embley. He testified Tuesday that paramedics found Drake, the child and a neighbor in a hallway of the apartment building. Paramedics tried to perform life saving measures on the child before taking the child into an ambulance and taking him to a local hospital, Embley said.
Police found Hidalgo a day later in an abandoned apartment building on 22nd Street in Ogden after someone had reported a break-in at the building, Embley said. He was one of several officers tasked with searching the building, and he later heard another officer give chase to Hidalgo. Moments later, he found the officer kneeling on Hidalgo to take him into custody.
After Hidalgo’s arrest, Ogden Police Detective Cody Wright was tasked with taking Hidalgo to a hospital to receive treatment for a large cut to his right wrist. Wright testified that while at the hospital, Hidalgo was laying on a hospital bed when he began whispering something to himself. Wright said he asked what Hidalgo was saying, to which he replied, “I really hurt a lot of people.”
Later, Wright was asked to attend the child’s autopsy, where the medical examiner reportedly said the child had little to no blood left in his body.
Deputy Weber County Attorney Letitia Toombs later read from the medical examiner’s report. The child suffered a large knife wound to his neck that severed his carotid artery and jugular vein, slightly grazing the child’s spinal cord, according to the medical examiner’s report.
“This 10 month, 29-day old child died due to sharp force injuries to his neck,” she read aloud. “The manner of death is homicide.”
While in police custody, Hidalgo was interviewed by Detective Larry Lewis, the lead investigator in the case. After Lewis read Hidalgo his Miranda rights, Hidalgo asked for an attorney, and the interview ended, Lewis said on the witness stand Tuesday.
Crime Scene Investigators from the Weber Metro CSI told the court that evidence of blood was found throughout the apartment.
CSI Paul Rimmasch explained to the court that small pools of blood were found soaked into the carpet near the kitchen and a desk in the apartment. Blood-stained pieces of garbage were found in the garbage can, but Rimmasch said the majority of blood loss likely took place where the blood was soaked into the carpet.
“A majority of the bleeding occurred near the desk,” Rimmasch said.
Another investigator, Jessica Brady, said traces of blood could be found using Luminol, a chemical that illuminates when in contact with traces of blood, throughout the home. Photos were displayed to the court showing traces of blood in the kitchen sink where two knives were found; in a hallway; on a doorknob to the bathroom; and throughout the bathroom sink.
Judge Michael DiReda asked defense attorneys if they would prefer to have him rule whether or not to bind the case over to trial the same day, to which the defense said they preferred to have him rule after a series of written statements were submitted.
Attorneys on both sides were given dates to submit written briefs and were given time to respond to the other’s written closing arguments. DiReda will issue his decision via written brief later this year.
As of Tuesday, Hidalgo’s next court hearing is scheduled for June 6 in Ogden’s 2nd District Court. He is being held without bail at the Weber County Jail.