25 Investigates: Death of baby, found unresponsive at Everett daycare, ruled a “homicide”

EVERETT, Mass. — Yoselin Salguero would have turned two this month. But her life was cut short just before she reached nine months old.

Her mother Rosa Delia Marin Salguero – who came to the U.S. From El Salvador - told Boston 25 Investigates that Yoselin was a happy and healthy little girl.

“The girl didn’t have any problems,” Salguero, 31, said in Spanish. “She was doing very well and when she was left with the babysitter she was very well.”

A 911 call brought first responders to the second floor of an apartment building on Chelsea Street in Everett in November 2021.

They found Yoselin unresponsive and in the care of 26-year-old Jessica Portillo, who state investigators said was running an unlicensed daycare that cost $25 a day.

The baby died from her injuries six days later at Boston’s Children’s Hospital.

“She never told me why, what happened,” Rosa said. “Because I asked her. I said: ‘What happened to the girl?’ She’s continued to be like that, she didn’t tell me anything.”

Nearly 16 months later, Rosa still doesn’t know what happened – despite medical records detailing the extensive injuries that baby Yoselin suffered and a medical examiner’s determination that Yoselin died as a result of homicide. Portillo has not been charged in the death of baby Yoselin, and efforts to speak with Portillo for this story were unsuccessful.

A medical examiner determined Yoselin died of homicide, according to a copy of her death certificate that 25 Investigates obtained at Boston City Hall.

“When they say homicide, they have a great deal of evidence from the autopsy that this occurred as a result of an intentionally inflicted injury,” Dr. Robert Sege, a Tufts Medical Center pediatrician who specializes in child abuse prevention, said.

Sege said medical examiners can determine whether someone died of homicide, suicide, natural causes or an undetermined reason.

The medical examiner found a subdural hemorrhage: or bleeding in the area between the brain and skull, spinal cord and other injuries

“When you see bleeding on the brain, it’s typically because there’s been some kind of force where the child fell a long distance, was hit in the head, was shaken,” Sege said.

Through a records request, 25 Investigates obtained a redacted copy of a report from the EEC, the state agency that regulates child care in Massachusetts.

It says Jessica Portillo was running an unlicensed daycare with “six children present on the day of the incident.” In February 2022, the state issued a cease and desist order against Portillo telling her to stop providing unlicensed care.

There’s no mention of any other adults who may have been in the home.

The EEC investigator also said Yoselin’s injuries were “attributed to an acceleration/deceleration action which could be the result of shaking or blunt trauma.”

And the investigator said Rosa Salguero had language-related issues understanding what medical personnel told her about her daughter’s grave condition.

Salguero told EEC investigators and 25 Investigates that Yoselin had at times returned from Portillo’s with scratches. According to the EEC report, Salguero said she found Yoselin had a bruise when she had picked her up from Portillo’s apartment about two to three weeks before her death.

For Rosa, it’s hard to comprehend how she still doesn’t have any answers.

“The detectives say the case is open, but I don’t see the sense of it, them saying it’s open when they have everything they’ve received from the hospital,” she said.

“It was a human being who died, a baby girl,” Salguero said, adding: “I would like to see justice done.”

Everett police referred 25 Investigates to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan when we asked for the status of the homicide investigation.

“There is nothing more difficult than the death of a child, especially when it occurs when that child is in the care of someone trusted by the parents,” Ryan said. “These cases are complicated and present numerous medical, factual, and legal questions. Our office continues to actively investigate this case.”

Rosa Salguero, who works in the hospital industry, said she didn’t know of – and couldn’t afford - any other option for childcare besides an unlicensed provider like Portillo.

“In this country, you have to work and leave your children behind,” Salguero said, adding: “You’re looking for people who you don’t know to take care of your children.”

“You look for a babysitter, and then you leave your children and you don’t know how it will go later,” Salguero said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW