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.”