By Bob Uphues
A Brookfield man arrested in Riverside back in February for allegedly kicking his pregnant fiancée in the stomach during an altercation now faces a more serious charge after the death of the woman's unborn child.
Benjamin G. Alvarez, 39, turned himself in to Riverside police, July 7, following a five-month-long investigation by police in Riverside, county prosecutors and the DuPage County Coroner.
He is charged with aggravated battery to a child, which is a Class 3 felony and carries a sentence of 2-5 years in prison, if convicted.
Alvarez remains free while awaiting trail after posting 10 percent of the $100,000 bond imposed by a Cook County judge on Tuesday.
"Riverside investigators and first responders who arrived at the scene [in February] worked for five months to build a case that we could bring to the state's attorney's office for felony prosecution," said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel. "It is our position that the domestic battery beating that he inflicted on his fiancée at that time did contribute to the loss of the baby."
Police were called to the 200 block of West Quincy Street on Feb. 22 to respond to a domestic battery complaint. Police reported finding a 35-year-old woman with a swollen left eye and lip and abrasions on her face. Her stomach was also injured, police said.
The woman's fiancé, identified by police as Alvarez, reportedly went to a party that night against her wishes. When Alvarez returned home, he found his personal belongings outside the house, which led to a verbal altercation that escalated into physical violence, according to police.
Alvarez allegedly shoved the woman to the ground, got on top of her and shoved hard-packed snow into the woman's face. He also allegedly then kicked the woman in the stomach. At the time, he was charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery.
The unborn child died March 20 — pronounced dead at 20 weeks by the DuPage County Coroner. Riverside police decided to drop the misdemeanors against Alvarez and pursue felony charges against him.
The DuPage County Coroner's Office was unable to determine a specific cause of death, said police, after an investigation and review of medical records.
However, Riverside police worked with the coroner and Cook County State's Attorney's Office to pursue the felony charge.
"While the DuPage County Coroner ruled that cause of death was undetermined, it is the position of the investigators that the investigative leads showed that the domestic battery beating did, in fact, contribute to the miscarriage," said Weitzel.