Las Vegas, Nevada – A father who was convicted of starving his infant son to death has been given a prison sentence of 10-25 years, announced on Thursday. Anthony Oceja, 35, may be eligible for release in as little as five years, considering the credit for time served since his arrest in 2018.
Tragically, Hannibal Oceja, the son of Anthony Oceja and Loreana Martinez, passed away at just 5 months old in the same year. Court records reveal that the infant weighed a mere five pounds, significantly below the average weight of 15 pounds for a child of his age.
Loreana Martinez, the child’s mother, had previously reached a plea agreement and was also sentenced to 10-25 years in prison, with credit for time served.
Initially, Anthony Oceja declined the plea deal and opted for a trial. However, following a guilty verdict from the jury, he ultimately agreed to the plea agreement.
During the sentencing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Giancarlo Pesci requested a longer prison term for Oceja, emphasizing the difference in accountability between a co-defendant who had taken responsibility early on and Oceja, who did so only after the guilty verdict.
Responding to the request, Judge Tierra Jones highlighted that she could not penalize Oceja for exercising his right to a trial.
In court, Oceja expressed his love for his children and his ongoing grief over his son’s death, firmly maintaining his innocence. “I went to trial to prove innocence. You know, I love my kids,” Oceja emotionally stated. “I miss my son every day. I mourn his death. I celebrate his birthday. No matter what they say. I love my son.”
The plea deals for both parents included guilty pleas to second-degree murder and child abuse charges resulting in significant physical or mental harm. Oceja also pleaded guilty to an additional charge of cruelty to animals.
In addition to the disturbing circumstances surrounding Hannibal’s death, police found evidence of neglect towards four dogs in the family’s home. As part of the sentencing, Oceja was ordered to pay over $1,000 in restitution to Clark County animal control.
Diana Jackson, Oceja’s sister, spoke virtually during the sentencing and shared that she had adopted the couple’s two surviving children. Jackson pleaded for the opportunity to heal as a family outside the confines of prison walls, requesting that Judge Jones grant Oceja the same sentence as Martinez.
The indictment against the parents included charges of murder. When jurors were presented with photos of Hannibal, one juror exclaimed, “Oh my God.”
On February 25, 2018, Martinez called 911 after discovering Hannibal unresponsive. Doctors testified that the baby was severely dehydrated, making it difficult to administer an IV. The medical team had to resort to inserting the needle directly into the baby’s bones.
Photographs taken by investigators in the family’s residence revealed the presence of food in both the stove and the refrigerator.
The couple’s two other children were reported to be socially delayed. Pediatric records indicated that their daughter had been diagnosed with failure to thrive, while their son also suffered from malnourishment and dehydration.
Detectives learned that Martinez claimed to have suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her first child but only took medication for less than a week before discontinuing its use, according to grand jury testimony.
Evidence also suggested warning signs related to baby Hannibal. Records showed that during a visit to pediatrician Dr. Shazia Kirmani, concerns were raised about his weight, and the mother displayed uncooperativeness with medical recommendations. Moreover, Martinez failed to attend three follow-up appointments.
It appears that Dr. Kirmani, legally obligated to report suspected child abuse or neglect, did not contact Child Protective Services as required.
Two months following that appointment, which another pediatrician deemed a “major red flag,” baby Hannibal tragically lost his life.
Inquiries made to Dr. Kirmani for a statement received no response in 2018, and subsequent attempts to reach her in 2024 were unsuccessful.
As of January 25, both Oceja and Martinez remain in the Clark County Detention Center but will eventually be transferred to the Nevada Department of Corrections.
For more information on reporting child abuse or neglect, please visit https://dcfs.nv.gov/Tips/CA/ChildAbuse/.
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