Date: 1984-12-27

Author: CYNTHIA BURTON, Daily News Staff Writer

A Montgomery County woman, charged with her husband in the alleged beating death of a 4-year-old boy they planned to adopt, told police she "lost my cool" while disciplining the child the night before he died, according to court documents.

Christine, 35, and Peter Moyer, 33, were charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault Dec. 20 in the beating death of Carlos Beltran of El Salvador. Carlos was found dead Dec. 14 at the couple's Franconia Township home.

Coroner Theodore A. Garcia ruled Carlos' death a homicide and said an autopsy at North Penn Hospital showed a pattern of child abuse.

The Moyers' attorney, Robert Kerns, has said that charges could be dropped against one of the Moyers, but has declined to elaborate.

According to the formal complaint filed in district court in Souderton, Christine Moyer told police she disciplined Carlos twice the night before he died and "lost my cool" the second time, striking him in the face. She said Peter Moyer also struck Carlos in the face, but he has denied that. He did tell police that he had spanked Carlos in the past.

Peter Moyer said that when he returned home from work the night before Carlos died, the child had a black eye and that his wife told him she had slapped him in the face to stop him from vomiting, according to the complaint.

Christine Moyer told police that she used to hit Carlos with her hand, but because it turned black and blue, she began hitting him with a belt, according to the complaint.

"At first, she didn't realize when she would hit him on the rear end with the belt that his body was so small, the belt was wrapping around his abdomen and striking him," the complaint said. Before hitting him, she would make him "drop his pants and brace himself againt the bed."

Dr. Halbert Fillinger, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, said Carlos' bowel was ruptured 24 to 36 hours before he died, causing hemorrhaging. Coroner Garcia said blows to Carlos' head and trunk caused his death.

Peter Moyer told police that Carlos complained of stomach pains the night before he died and vomited several times. He spent that night sleeping on a thin mattress in the bathtub. The next morning he fell asleep as he was eating a cracker and was placed in his bed, the complaint said.

Christine Moyer told police Carlos was "very hot, sweating and his stomach was going in and out," but that she left the house that morning without getting medical attention for him.

Peter Moyer told police that Carlos had become a discipline problem in the last 2 1/2 months, frequently forcing himself to vomit.

The Moyers were working through Adoptions International Inc. in Huntingdon Valley to adopt Carlos, who came to the United States last April, county detectives confirmed. Agency director Judith Toplin did not return telephone calls. The state Department of Public Welfare last week said it would investigate the agency.

The Moyers have been free on their own recognizance, pending their posting of a relative's Bucks County property as $25,000 bail each.

Yesterday, the Moyers regained custody of their natural children, who had been taken from them after police found Carlos dead in the Moyers' Franconia Township home Dec. 14.

Juvenile Judge Paul Tressler returned Laura, 4, and Jenny, 2, to the Moyers after the Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth found no evidence of child abuse.


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