4-year-old victim’s mom held on unrelated charge

An undated courtesy photo of Giovanni Mejias.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The mother of a 4-year-old killed last week in metro Grand Rapids has been arrested on an unrelated charge.

Sonja Hernandez, 29, was arrested by the Wyoming Department of Public Safety and booked into the Kent County Correctional Facility on Sunday, online records show.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department said her arrest was not related to the death of her son, Giovanni Mejias, but did not provide further details. Online Michigan State Police records show she’s being held on a misdemeanor assault charge.

More information will become available when Hernandez is arraigned, which could happen as early as Monday.

On Tuesday, Giovanni stopped breathing at his home in Gaines Township and was resuscitated by emergency responders on scene, but died later at the hospital. An autopsy determined he died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen and that the injury could not have been accidental.

Giovanni Mejias, Elis Nelson Ortiz-Nieves
Elis Nelson Ortiz-Nieves cries when he is arraigned on murder and child abuse charges in the death of 4-year-old Giovanni Mejias. (June 15, 2017)

Elis Nelson Ortiz-Nieves, Hernandez’ boyfriend but not Giovanni’s father, is charged with murder and first-degree child abuse in the case. Authorities say he was watching seven children, three of whom are his, when Giovanni stopped breathing.

Hernandez’s children were removed from her care by Children’s Protective Services shortly after Giovanni’s death.