Fallon toddler dies; mom's boyfriend to be charged with open murder

FALLON - A 2-year-old girl who was allegedly beaten by her mother's boyfriend has died.

Nikaliah Kanoch was pronounced legally dead at 11:50 a.m. Tuesday and taken off life support at 7:15 p.m., according to Fallon Police Chief Russ Brooks. She died at Washoe Medical Center, where she was taken by Care Flight on Sunday afternoon.

District Attorney Arthur Mallory said Wednesday that Jose Valencia Jr., also known as "Joey," will be charged with open murder.

Valencia, 27, was booked Monday into the Churchill County Jail on charges of child abuse with substantial bodily harm, battery with substantial bodily harm, domestic battery and battery. He was being held in lieu of $10,000 cash bail. Mallory said Valencia was charged with domestic battery because he had a relationship with the child's mother and lived with Nikaliah.

Valencia was found Monday morning at the Downtowner Motor Lodge in Reno by Reno police. Authorities said Valencia had a bus ticket and planned to flee.

Court documents accuse Valencia of punching the girl in the face with a closed fist and hitting her with a clothes hanger. Investigators reported that the child had various bruises, scratch marks, several human bite marks, a disfigured wrist, abrasions and swollen lips.

Dr. Ellen Clark, a Reno forensic pathologist, will examine Nikaliah's injuries to determine how they were caused and attempt to determine when they were allegedly inflicted.

Officers interviewed the girl's 5-year-old brother, who allegedly told investigators Valencia hit his sister in the face with a closed fist and a coat hanger before he placed her in a bedroom, court documents state. The boy said he could hear yelling from the bedroom.

Also arrested was Henry Allen Camacho, 23, charged with child abuse causing substantial bodily harm. Fallon's Assistant Police Chief Ray Dolan said earlier that Camacho was baby-sitting the girl, her brother and a 3-year-old girl while their mother worked.

Dolan said Camacho initially lied to police, saying he was the only person at the house all day. He is charged because he was the sole responsible adult looking after the children, Dolan added.

Seizure warrants to draw blood were served on Camacho and Valencia to determine if they had methamphetamine, court records indicate. Results of lab tests are pending.

Stephen Cheek Jr., 24, is accused of obstructing police by providing false information during the investigation, police said. Cheek was driving a Ford Tempo police believed Valencia used to flee.

Sunday night and Monday morning Fallon police and deputies from the Washoe County Crime Lab searched the East Virginia Street tri-plex, confiscating evidence allegedly linked to the crime, said Dolan.

n Contact reporter Marlene Garcia at mgarcia@lahontanvalleynews.com.


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