Family of Infant Found Dead on Base at MCAS Speaks Out

YUMA, Ariz. –  The family of Celine Matus, the 20-month-old found dead on base at MCAS Yuma, says she was a happy and healthy baby.

“What I’ll miss most is her smiles,” her grandmother Alva Matus said. “They just took everything away from her.”

Matus says she was originally told the baby died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome but was told otherwise when a detective came knocking on her door.

“She [the detective] told me the baby had been hit in the head and had brain damage,”Matus explained. “She also said someone threw acid in that little baby’s face.”

Celine was found on Tuesday, May 19. A few days later her step father Lance Corporal Jared Cardwell was arrested. Cardwell remains in Military confinement more than a week later. The Marine Corps says that someone is only placed under military if there is a reasonable belief they have committed an offense and there is a reasonable belief that the person is a flight risk.
The family says all they want is justice for their little girl. “I made a promise to her at her funeral, that I was going to fight for her,” Matus said. “I’m here and I’m alive and I believe God is going to make this right.”

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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