STAMFORD, Conn. — The man charged with killing his wife in their Stamford apartment then abandoning their 6-year-old daughter in New York City last month pleaded not guilty to murder in court Friday, according to the Stamford Advocate.
Elmer Gomez Ruano, 32, pleaded not guilty to murder and risk of injury to a minor at his arraignment Friday at State Superior Court in Stamford, the Advocate said. He was held on $900,000 bond, the story said.
The judge placed a full protective order against Ruano to keep him from contacting the girl, who has been placed with a foster family through the state Department of Children and Families, the Advocate said. His family is seeking to gain custody of the girl, the Advocate said.
Stamford police named Ruano as a suspect in the murder of Dionicia Bautista-Cano, 24, who was found dead Nov. 14 in the Glenbrook apartment she had just moved into. Bautista-Cano was the estranged wife of Ruano.
Her body was discovered after the couple's 5-year-old daughter was found wandering around alone at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City. It was later determined that Ruano had abandoned her there, police said. Police were able to get enough information from her to lead them to the Courtland Avenue building where her mother was found dead inside a third-floor apartment.
The death was ruled a homicide. Police launched a manhunt for Ruano, who was arrested in Brooklyn on Nov. 18. He was held in New York City and waived an extradition hearing before being sent to Stamford on Thursday.
Stamford Police Lt. Tom Barcello said Thursday it was satisfying to have Ruano sent to Stamford .
“It’s very nice to get him into custody. My guys did a very nice job here: Sgt. (Chris) Broems, Officer Barquero, Officer Davis and Officer Junes," Barcello said. "They did a great job. We are very satisfied with this case. Very satisfied that he is in custody. We are glad that we have him here and that now we can serve a murder warrant on him.”
Police have been careful in their dealings with the young girl and did speak with her a little bit but backed off for her well-being, he said. Barcello said they have not asked whether she witnessed the murder.
“We have not and we don’t want to necessarily press it with her,” he said. “It’s traumatic enough when you lose your mother so we don’t want to press it with a 6-year-old girl who has had a tough life already.”
Police said the couple were married in Guatemala in 2008 and the husband is believed to have moved to the United States a couple of years ago. He had been living in Stamford for under a year, police said. The wife is believed to have moved to New Jersey with their child less than a year ago, according to police.
The couple had been separated but had reunited and had moved into the Stamford apartment days before the wife's murder, according to police.
Click here to read the story at the Stamford Advocate.