Wagner woman charged with murder in death of daughter

WAGNER, S.D. (AP) — A Wagner woman has been charged with murder in the death of her 3-year-old daughter, whose body was covered in bruises when police found her unresponsive last week.

Amanda Rose Hernandez, 23, was arrested Friday, two days after her daughter, Aayana Hernandez, was found dead at the home where they were staying. Hernandez was charged with second-degree murder.

According to court documents, Hernandez told police that Aayana fell from a top bunk bed days earlier, but she didn’t seek medical attention because the girl appeared to be acting normally. But an autopsy found Aayana died from internal bleeding and a traumatic head injury. She also had a broken femur. The injuries were found to be consistent with abuse, and the medical examiner ruled that her death was a homicide.

Police say Hernandez denied causing the injuries that killed her daughter.

According to a police affidavit, Hernandez told police she and a friend were out drinking Tuesday night and returned at about midnight and fell asleep. But Hernandez’s friend told police they didn’t return until 9 a.m. Wednesday. He said they fell asleep on the couch, but Hernandez got up because Aayana was fussing. He heard Hernandez yelling but couldn’t recall hearing the girl crying.

Aayana was found dead hours later.

Hernandez made her first court appearance Monday and bail was set at $100,000. A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 30 at the Charles Mix County Courthouse.