Trial Set in Indiana Teen Murder/Feticide Case Feb 16, 2019 1:54:30 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Feb 16, 2019 1:54:30 GMT -5
Trial Set in Case of Indiana Teen Charged with Murder, Feticide
The trial of Aaron Trejo, the 16-year-old charged with the December 9, 2018, murder of Breana Rouhselang in Mishawaka, Indiana, has been scheduled to begin June 20, 2019. He is also charged with feticide for the killing of his unborn child: Breana was six months pregnant at the time of her death. The trial will be held in the Saint Joseph County Courthouse in South Bend, Indiana.
Trejo, a black-Hispanic mix with a Colin Kaepernick hairdo, was a member of the Mishawaka High School Cavemen football team of which Breana was one of the managers. The athletic girl was also a former cheerleader and played softball.
At approximately 11 o’clock on the night of Saturday, December 9, Breana told her mother, Melissa Wallace, she was going outside to meet Trejo in an alley behind their house. When she failed to return, Ms. Wallace went to the Trejo home at 311 W. Lawrence Street, where Trejo told her Breana never showed up. She then called police and reported her daughter missing. When police arrived at Trejo’s home to question him, he repeated his claim that he had gone to meet Breana, but she failed to appear.
Officers searched the alley behind the mother’s home and found a stocking cap and pair of women’s glasses, both of which Ms. Wallace said belonged to her daughter. When it was discovered there was what was likely a bloodstain on the cap, police secured the area and discovered additional bloodstains that led them to a dumpster behind Pasquale Rulli’s restaurant at 904 Division Street. There, stuffed into the trash receptacle was the body of the 17-year-old girl. Her head and upper torso were encased in a black plastic trash bag and it appeared the teenager had been stabbed to death.
Trejo, accompanied by family members, was then transported to the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit, where the teenager continued to deny meeting Breana. He admitted, however, that the reason for their scheduled meeting was to discuss her pregnancy and told police neither he nor Breana wanted the baby.
Investigators, convinced the teen knew more than he was telling, continued to press him until he finally confessed to fighting with and killing the girl, saying she waited too long to have an abortion. When asked what he did about it, Trejo coldly replied, “I took action ... I took her life.” He then admitted he had been thinking about and planning the murder for about a week. The knife he used and the plastic garbage bag were taken from his home. He told investigators he chose to stab her in the heart because he thought it would kill her quickly. After dumping the body, Trejo said he went to the St. Joseph River and threw the knife and Breana’s cellphone as far out into the water as possible.
An autopsy confirmed Breana Rouhselang died from multiple stab wounds and that her scarf had been wound so tightly around her neck that she was being strangled as she died. The autopsy also confirmed the girl’s pregnancy, which her father, Dave Rouhselang, knew nothing about. He and Breana’s mother were divorced and shared custody.
Following the murder, both Breana’s family and that of her killer defended the teenagers. “We just don’t even know what to think,” Nicole Rouhselang, Breana’s black stepmother, told reporters. “We’re in shock. We’re in disbelief. She was a child with a child. There’s no words to express how I feel.”
Breana’s father, added that he had never heard of Trejo and when asked if he thought the teen was the father of Breana’s unborn child, said he believed that to be the case.
In the months leading up to her untimely death, Breana’s grades had been slipping, family members revealed. Still, according to her father, she seemed like the happy, sweet girl she had always been, telling The Daily Beast she was “the most caring, innocent person you could ever meet.” The last time Dave saw his daughter was the week before Thanksgiving when he treated her to a birthday party (her birthday was November 5) at T.G.I. Friday’s, where he is employed. Afterward, the family went home and relaxed. “It was a great day,” he recalled.
At the same time, Alexandra Patton-Mahu, Trejo’s maternal aunt in California, told reporters her nephew was one of four siblings in a tight-knit family. He played video games, participated in sports and, as with all teenagers, sometimes kept to himself. “Just your typical kid,” she insisted. “This is not him. This is not in his character.” When asked about Breana Rouhselang, she said, “Nobody knew she was pregnant. Nobody knew anything” and that the entire family was horrified about what happened. “This is just a nightmare all the way around,” she continued. “I wish we could wake up.”
Possible warning signs. WNDU’s Joshua Short questioned Dr. Bill Bruinsma, Executive Director of the St. Joseph County Juvenile Center, concerning possible warning signs. “It’s pretty hard to predict a violent behavior,” Bruinsma admitted, addinig that a history of “broken relationships ... fighting and hurting animals” were red flags. Jealousy, he added, was a big warning sign.
Senior staff officials at the Northern Indiana YWCA agreed. “Those could be some warning signs to keep an eye on,” Director of Crisis and Children’s Services Rachel Shane confirmed. “Is it an epidemic? Yes, but it’s not a new epidemic,” she added. She also admitted it is very difficult to explain why we’re seeing all these cases “all of a sudden.”
Trejo’s next court appearance is set for May 20, 2019.
Sources: Clerk of Court, St. Joseph Superior Court, South Bend, Indiana; Joshua Short, WNDU, February 13, 2019; Lincoln Wright, The South Bend Tribune, December 11, 2018; Harriet Sokmensuer and Greg Hanlon, People, December 11 and 13, 2018; and Kate Briquelet, The Daily Beast, December 11, 2018.