LONGWOOD, Fla. – The father accused of stabbing his daughters, killing a 3-year-old and critically injuring a 12-year-old, at their Longwood home was arrested, police said on Friday.
According to officers, Juan Bravo-Torres, 39 — who also cut his wrists and throat and is under the supervision of law enforcement at the hospital — faces first-degree premeditated murder and attempted murder charges.
Police said they were alerted to the fatal stabbing Thursday at the 798 Highland St. residence when the 12-year-old girl walked to a nearby McDonald’s where her mother worked for help after Bravo-Torres slashed her throat.
The girl told police she was sleeping when her father reached for her neck and came at her with a knife, slicing her throat, an affidavit for an arrest warrant shows.
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As Bravo-Torres went to get another knife, the girl exited the bedroom and found her 3-year-old sister on the floor in the hallway, officers said.
According to the affidavit, when Bravo-Torres returned, the girl fought back and eventually “acted dead,” in the hopes Bravo-Torres would stop attacking. Police said the father then dragged the 12-year-old and her little sister into the bathroom, where he cut his own wrists and throat.
The 12-year-old girl waited for her father to lose consciousness before grabbing the knife Bravo-Torres used to attack her to protect herself, locking the bathroom door from the inside and walking nearly a mile to the McDonald’s to tell her mother what her father had done, the affidavit continues.
“At that age, to be sleeping and woken up by being attacked with a knife, seeing your younger sister in the condition she was in, fighting off your father, and having the mindset to think, ‘How am I going to get out of this?’ When he lost consciousness, she got out of the house and she went to where she knew her mom was, and it’s just remarkable,” Longwood police Sgt. Derek Chenoweth said. “Grown adults may not have been able to come to that decision, and this 12-year-old did that, and she’s alive today because of the choices that she made.”
He added it’s a very difficult time for the community.
“A lot of us have children of our own, some of us grandchildren. This is a very small, tight-knit community and we have a lot of vested interest in our community,” Chenoweth said.
That support was shown today when officers from the Longwood Police Department placed flowers and balloons at the memorial site where the 3-year-old was killed, so that if the 12-year-old girl returns to the residence, she can see that law enforcement and the community are here for her.
A Longwood PD officer just stopped by the home where a 4 y/o girl was found stabbed to death yesterday.— Ezzy Castro (@EzzyCastro) July 22, 2022
The officer placed flowers on the ground
Her 12 y/o sister was also stabbed & is at the hospital
Police are calling their father a person of interest in the case @news6wkmg pic.twitter.com/hqwHS489KT
“The amount of courage that this 12-year-old girl, young lady, had is just remarkable,” he said. “I think the hardest thing is for the people involved to find the courage to speak up. That’s where it’s incumbent on the friends and family.”
The 12-year-old girl is still in the intensive care unit in critical condition, but police said she is improving.
A GoFundMe page was created to support the girls’ family. The money will be used to cover funeral and memorial costs, medical costs and time off work for the children’s mother to care for them.
With a goal of $20,000, the GoFundMe page has collected $11,800 as of Monday afternoon.
Police arrested Bravo-Torres at the hospital, where he remains in critical condition.
Upon his discharge, Bravo-Torres will be transported to the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford, police said.
A motive for the attack is not known.
Police had previously said the 3-year-old killed in the stabbing was 4 years old before issuing a correction.
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