EXCLUSIVE: Stepmother Speaks on Murder Charge - 8 News NOW

EXCLUSIVE: Stepmother Speaks on Murder Charge

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Kalinda Mercado Kalinda Mercado

LAS VEGAS -- A stepmother is facing murder charges after she repeatedly ignored signs that her 12-year-old stepson was seriously sick.

Kalinda Mercado clutched a key chain. She said her stepson Emmanuel Austin Mercado made it for her a few years ago.

Mercado said there were happy times, but that changed last February when Austin was rushed to the hospital in cardiac arrest and died a day later from a ruptured appendix.

"He was my son. I would not do anything to hurt him," Mercado said.

According to an arrest report Metro released Tuesday, investigators said Mercado ignored Austin's symptoms of appendicitis for more than a week.

Read the Arrest Report for Kalinda Mercado

The report details how Austin went to the nurse's office several times throwing up with severe stomach pains and a high fever.

The police report also states that Mercado did not take Austin to the doctor even after the school nurse told her his condition could be life threatening.

Austin's biological mother, Starr Flores, was at the hospital when her son passed away.

"His stomach was busted open. Oh my God what happened to my baby," Flores said.

After Austin died, Flores said she demanded an autopsy because she felt Mercado and her ex-husband José Mercado could have done more to help Austin.

The coroner later found there were signs of neglect and ruled his death a homicide.

"Why didn't he tell me I am in pain Dad, he never once said nothing bothered him," Jose Mercado said.

Jose Mercado and his wife both maintain they had no idea how sick Austin was at the time.

Flores said she had suspected abuse and neglect in the past and called Child Protective Services. Records show an investigation took place in 2011, but no abuse was found and said she still wishes she fought harder to get her son back.

"I regret every second of every day," Flores said.

Kalinda Mercado is now out on bail. She and her husband have four other children.

Mercado is due in court Wednesday morning and that's when the judge will set a date for a preliminary hearing where they'll determine if there's enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

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