Jeremy Diaz, a 6-year-old Texas boy who was allegedly hit by his neighbor with a baseball bat in September, died Tuesday after spending two months fighting for his life on a hospital ventilator, according to authorities and his father.
“Early this morning I checked on him and noticed a pale face and eyes with no movement. Then his heart stopped,” Jeremy’s father, Arturo Diaz, wrote on a GoFundMe page Tuesday. “They tried to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful.”
Jeremy was asleep in his bed on Sept. 11 when Daniel Logan, 39, entered the Georgetown home and assaulted him and another person in the house, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office said. Jeremy’s skull was fractured in multiple places, causing swelling to his brain, according to an arrest affidavit about the incident.
Daniel Logan’s mother was also injured. She followed her son into the neighbor’s home after she saw him enter through the broken back door while holding a bat and found Jeremy slumped on the floor of his bedroom, according to the affidavit.
After telling her son to stop, she hit him in the face with a baseball bat. She suffered a gash on her face and one of her bottom teeth was knocked out, according to the affidavit.
Police were called to the home just after 5 a.m. by the suspect’s wife, the affidavit said. Jeremy Diaz and the suspect’s mother were transported to the hospital for treatment.
Logan was charged with causing serious bodily injury to a child and aggravated assault of a family member with a weapon, according to jail records. The court has ordered a mental health evaluation and is holding him on $650,000 bail
Jeremy felt much better Saturday, Arturo Diaz wrote on the online fundraiser. The family intended to extubate him because he no longer needed a ventilator. His condition deteriorated rapidly on Monday night when he had a neural storm – a stress reaction caused by brain damage.
“It was the worst storm we had seen and it came out of nowhere. It was almost 6 hours of hell on earth – I can only imagine the torture he went through,” Diaz wrote.
On the evening of the incident, Diaz and his wife were awakened by loud bangs coming from the main floor of their residence, the arrest affidavit states.
Diaz said in an interview Thursday that as he tried to protect his family, Logan swung the bat at him several times but missed.
“I didn’t want to chase him because I knew somebody was hurt,” Diaz said through tears. “I went upstairs and I saw my boy in a pool of his own blood.”
The Diaz family lived next door to Logan for a year and a half. The weekend before the attack, Diaz said Jeremy waved good morning to Logan and his wife from the patio of their home in the town about 30 miles north of Austin.
“We didn’t know he was going to cross over the following weekend and attack us for no reason at all,” Diaz said. “He was just filled with hate.”
Diaz said he later noticed Logan cut a hole in their wooden fence to cut a vine that Jeremy had planted in the garden several days before the attack.
The sheriff’s office said they are awaiting autopsy results from the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, and if the results warrant, they will “present the case to a grand jury for charges to be enhanced to Capital Murder.”
Marc Chavez, the attorney representing Logan, said his prayers go out to the Diaz family and he hopes they find peace during this tragic time.
“While the allegations sound troubling, we ask that everyone reserve judgment until all the facts emerge, especially as we investigate issues related to serious mental illness,” Chavez said.
Diaz said it was difficult to guide Jeremy through his stay at the hospital because he couldn’t give him answers as to why someone might have hurt him.
During his time in hospital, Jeremy needed a spinal tap, developed infections and swelling in his throat and had to wear a temperature-regulating suit. His father wrote on the fundraiser that Jeremy wanted to be Iron Man for Halloween and “fought for his life like a superhero.”
“I was there when he took his first breath and watched him take his last,” Diaz wrote in an update Tuesday. “No parent should see their children buried before them.”
The Diaz family is planning a memorial service for Jeremy at a local church.
Jeremy loved Jiu Jitsu, soccer and playing the piano, Diaz said in the interview. He was also a role model for his 3-year-old brother, who was also in the house when the incident happened.
Diaz said his son should be remembered for his immense kindness. Once, his father recalled, Jeremy gave away his Transformers toys to another boy at school.
“He had such a beautiful look on his face because he had given one of his favorite toys to a friend who asked for it,” Diaz said.