Marine Corps: Lance Corporal Cardwell to face military trial

YUMA, Ariz. – The Marine Corps says there is enough evidence to bring Lance Corporal Jared Cardwell to military trial. Cardwell is charged with murder, and a charge of negligence in the death of his 22-month old daughter Celine Matus. Matus was found dead on base at MCAS Yuma on May 19th, Cardwell was arrested three days later.

“I just want to ask him why, ask him why he did,” Alba Matus, Celine’s Paternal Grandmother said.

The decision to bring Cardwell to military court, otherwise known as a court martial, comes after a preliminary hearing which was held at MCAS Miramar in San Diego September 14th.

In that initial hearing evidence from both sides was presented, the cause of death was also determined. Dr. Gregory Hess out of Pima County performed the autopsy. Hess testified the toddler died from blunt force trauma to the head. He also added there were bruises all over her body, and chemical burns on her face.

The doctor who treated Celine at YRMC says he believes Celine had been dead for up to 12 hours before receiving any sort of medical attention.


The Marine Corps says Cardwell should be in court within the next three months.

The marine corps says should Cardwell be found innocent, his life will return to normal.  “If he is found guilty, then he could spend the rest of his life in a military brig,” Colonel Daren Margolin, a staff Judge Advocate said.

The family says the decision to bring Cardwell to Court Martial, is a small victory for them and Celine.

“I have been fighting and fighting for justice, and it feels like now I am finally being heard,” Matus said.

Cardwell has not entered a plea.

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About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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