Court Docs: Teen Molested 4-Year-Old Alex Mercado, Then Drowned Him, Stuffed Body in Dryer

(AP/Fresno County Sheriffs Office)
Photo: Alex Christopher Mercado.

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Raul Renato Castro, the 14-year-old boy who is now charged with drowning his 4-year-old neighbor in a bathtub, told authorities that he did it to keep little Alex Mercado from revealing the teen had molested him, according to an affidavit released in court Wednesday.

Castro, dressed in a jail-issued purple shirt and guarded by five bailiffs and two officers outfitted in paramilitary gear, appeared emotionless and stared at his hands as he nodded when Judge Jon Kapetan asked him if he understood the proceedings. Bail was set at $2.1 million.

(AP/The Fresno Bee, Mark Crosse)
Photo: Elsa Castro, right, mother of 14-year-old Raul Castro, walks to the courtroom in Fresno, Calif. on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009.

According to the affidavit, Castro, a student at Mendota Junior High School, initially told police he knew nothing of the boy's disappearance and that when investigators told him that Alex's body had been found in Castro's house in the dryer, the teen suggested someone had broken into the house and put him there.

Castro eventually told police he had enticed the dimpled, brown-eyed boy into his house across the street and sodomized him, the affidavit states. He told police he killed Mercado after the child fell and hit his head, started crying, then threatened to tell his mother, the document states.

"Castro said he panicked and decided to kill the victim by drowning him in the bathtub," the affidavit says. The teen, who is 5-feet tall and weighs 170 pounds, then put Mercado's body over his shoulder and carried him to the dryer, hoping everything "would go away."

Kathy Marousek, Castro's acting public defender told the Associated Press after the hearing Wednesday that she doubted the teenager understood the Miranda Rights read to him by investigators, which could put his confession in doubt.

"He told me he was scared," said Marousek, who spoke with the teen as he sat in the jury box. "He could be in shock."

November 4, 2009 - Teen Charged as Adult in Slaying of 4-Year-Old Alex Mercado, Found in Dryer
November 2, 2009 - Alex Mercado, Missing 4-Year-Old Fresno Boy, Found Dead in Dryer