The Wauchula Police Department in conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is currently conducting an investigation into the death of Joel Jordan Chavez, age 15 months. Chavez was brought into Florida Hospital Wauchula in the early morning of November 5, 2013 as an unresponsive patient. After unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate him Chavez was pronounced dead by the Emergency Room Doctor. Emergency Room staff contacted law enforcement due to the amount of injuries observed by the ER staff.
An autopsy was performed on Chavez at the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office on the same date. The exam revealed numerous severe injuries to Chavez’s body. The Medical Examiner gave a preliminary cause of death as Homicide by Head Trauma.
Interviews were conducted at the child’s residence located at 310 W Townsend St Wauchula, FL 33873, which was determined to be the location of the crime scene. The residence was secured and a Search Warrant obtained to search the residence for possible evidence relating to the crime. All parties residing at the house were interviewed.
Also residing at the residence were five other juveniles and four adults. All of the remaining juveniles were taken into the custody of the Department of Children and Families at which point they began an investigation into the welfare of these children. Through that investigation medical exams were conducted, which revealed a second child (2 ½ years of age male) who was also the victim of abuse. After this incident was verified a second criminal investigation was initiated.
After the exam of the second child injuries were discovered that were consistent with similar injuries sustained by Chavez. During the course of this investigation the child’s mother, Kaycha Lynn Rivera H/F DOB 04-25-1991 and boyfriend of the mother, Hector Jaimes H/M DOB 11-29-1989 who lived at the residence were arrested and charged with Child Neglect.
Rivera is currently being held at the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office Jail with a $50,000 bond. Jaimes is currently being held at the same location with a $200,000 bond. Jaimes currently has an outstanding warrant for arrest from the State of Texas for a felony Violation of Probation charge.
Charges related to Joel Chavez’s death are pending as the criminal investigation continues. Questions or anyone with information in reference to the death of Joel Jordan Chavez can contact Lt. Matthew Whatley at (863)773-3265, ext. 207.