Elizabeth couple sentenced to total of 53 years for fatal beating of young daughter

The Elizabeth man and woman who beat their 2-year-old daughter to death a little more than three years ago have been sentenced to a combined total of 53 years in state prison for the crime, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.

Jorge Orozco, 33, was sentenced to 37 years after being convicted of charges of first-degree aggravated manslaughter and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, while Raquel Ramirez, 33, was sentenced to 16 years after being convicted of second-degree reckless manslaughter and second-degree endangering.

Orozco must serve more than 28 years of his sentence, and Ramirez must serve more than 12 years of hers, before either becomes eligible for parole under terms set down Friday by state Superior Court Judge John Deitch.

Shortly before 8 p.m. on Sunday, February 2, 2014, first responders rushed to an apartment on the 200 block of Westfield Avenue in Elizabeth to find 2-year-old Dayanna Orozco unresponsive, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernadas Jr., who prosecuted the case. The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene, Cernadas said.

An intensive joint investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force and Elizabeth Police Department followed, revealing that the victim had suffered broken bones and severe internal injuries as a result of repeated physical assaults by Jorge Orozco and Ramirez over the weekend, Cernadas said. By the time a relative called 911, he noted, she had been dead for several hours.

Ramirez was arrested during the days following Dayanna Orozco’s death and initially was charged with aggravated assault before the offense was upgraded, and Jorge Orozco was arrested and charged in late May 2014. Both were indicted two months later, and, following a month-long trial that took place in March 2017, they were convicted following one day of jury deliberation.