Suspect in infant death has prior record

By Brenton Awa
Published On: May 16 2013 07:59:28 PM HST

Joel Nartatez Asuncion

WAIPAHU, Hawaii -

Honolulu police arrested 38-year-old Joel Asuncion Wednesday night at police headquarters for second-degree murder after a six-week-old infant was found dead at a Waipahu home on Tuesday.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner identified the infant as Gabriel Membrere.  The cause of death is still under investigation.

Meanwhile a neighbor tells KITV he lived right next door to Asuncion for six months. The neighbor went on to say that he hasn't noticed anything suspicious lately.  But, he did say that he's seen Asuncion around the area with an infant.

Asuncion does have a prior record for theft and burglary.  He was also convicted three times of a misdemeanor -- abuse of a family member.  His most recent conviction was 10 years ago.

The Department of Human Services released a statement saying it sends its sincere condolences to the family of baby Gabriel Membrere.

The loss of any child to abuse and neglect is a reminder that the entire community needs to be vigilant and report suspected abuse to the DHS Child Welfare Services Branch immediately upon witnessing the same.  It is also a reminder to extended family members to offer assistance and guidance to help a family member that may be experiencing emotional or financial stress related to parenting.

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