A soldier complained his 8-month-old baby wouldn’t stop screaming. Then he allegedly beat her to death

Graphic details: Infant had so many haemorrhages that doctors could not count them and likened her fatal injuries to those suffered in a ‘car crash’

Amelia Neath
Friday 24 May 2024 19:02
Sgt Gabriel Ceville, a Fort Liberty soldier, has been charged with murder of Misty Delatorre
Sgt Gabriel Ceville, a Fort Liberty soldier, has been charged with murder of Misty Delatorre (Facebook)

An Army soldier has been charged with the murder of his eight-month-old daughter, who prosecutors allege was beaten to death while in his care.

Medical examiners in North Carolina ruled infant Misty Delatorre’s death a homicide not long after she died last year but no one had been charged over it until this month.

Over the past year, Misty’s mother and grandmother have tirelessly fought for justice for the eight-month-old, who suffered fatal head injuries while with her father, Sgt Gabriel Ceville, a Fort Liberty soldier with the 82nd Airborne Division.

Her grandmother, Misty Bray, told ABC11 that the baby was so “innocent” and “didn’t even have her first tooth yet when she died.”

"I just want justice. I did. I just want my grandbaby’s death -- someone needs to be held accountable," Ms Bray said.

Sgt Ceville faces charges of unpremeditated murder, involuntary manslaughter and domestic violence; however, the domestic violence charge is not related to his baby daughter, but to another family member, according to the outlet.

Two weeks before Misty’s death, her parents were involved in a custody battle, that saw both parents sharing custody over their daughter.

The new Fort Liberty sign is displayed outside the base on Friday, June 2, 2023 in Fort Liberty, North Carolina
The new Fort Liberty sign is displayed outside the base on Friday, June 2, 2023 in Fort Liberty, North Carolina (AP)

During a preliminary court hearing on Wednesday, the military prosecutor claimed that Sgt Ceville sent text messages to his wife that his head hurt, and that Misty was screaming, according to the outlet.

Shortly after, he texted her the baby was unresponsive and had thrown up, with 911 records showing he reported that his daughter was not breathing.

Misty was airlifted to UNC Hospital, where she died a few days later, ABC11 says. An autopsy ruled that she died of blunt force trauma and the manner of death a homicide.

“Her father stated that she had not been feeling well, and she had vomited,” the autopsy report stated, obtained by WRAL, which also said that Misty was home alone with her father. “[Ceville] slapped her on the back to clear her airway.”

However, the medical examiner’s report also stated that Misty’s injuries were “highly associated with abusive head trauma in infants.”

The prosecutors said that, according to doctors, Misty had severe brain and eye injuries comparable to a bad car crash, with so many haemorrhages they could not count, local reporters say.

"It’s a step, but it’s far from justice. I cannot grieve properly for my baby because justice has not been served," Misty’s mother, Alina, told the outlet after finding out the charges, adding that she had to remotely listen in to the hearing because it was short notice and she lives in California.

"It is unbelievable that so much violence was inflicted onto an innocent 8-month-old baby,” she added. “My daughter’s murderer is walking free, and we will not stop until that monster is put away."

A spokesperson for The Army’s Office of Special Trial Counsel (OSTC) told Law & Crime that after a preliminary investigation, the OSTC preferred the charges against Mr Ceville in connection to his daughter’s death.

They also explained that the preliminary hearing was required before the “referral of charges and specifications for trial by General Court-Martial pursuant to Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).”

Mr Ceville is able to remain out on his own recognizance as he waits to hear from the military court if his case moves forward for trial by General Court-Martial.

The soldier told WRAL that he knew he was under investigation, but denied harming his child.

The Independent has contacted the Army’s Office of Special Trial Counsel for further information and how to obtain contact details for Mr Ceville’s legal representatives.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in