HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - A man who has confessed to beating a 3-year-old girl and throwing her in a recycling bin in Miami Gardens is the victim’s uncle, her family said.

Police took 18-year-old Tristin Tavares Bernard into custody after Thursday afternoon’s incident that left loved ones shaken.

“She was in pain. She was moving her head from left to right on my shoulder, my shoulder, all over blood,” said Dwayne Henry, who said he is a family relative.

Miami Gardens Police and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units responded to the scene along Northwest 27th Circle, just before 5:15 p.m.

The child’s family told 7News the young victim was spending the day with her grandmother when, at some point, she and her teenage cousin both went missing.

“When she turned back, she don’t see her, so she said, ‘Catora! Catora!’” said a family member who did not want to be identified, “so when she doesn’t see Catora, she doesn’t see him either. That’s when she got suspicious, like, ‘Where’s Tristin? Where’s Tristin?’”

Henry and several other people went looking for the toddler and Bernard around the neighborhood after they both disappeared.

Speaking through a translator, an area resident who lives about a block away from the grandmother’s house said he heard cries next to his home.

“Something told to me to go ahead and run outside,” he said.

He told detectives that when he walked outside he saw the little girl in the bin and Bernard slamming a brick twice against her head.

Henry said the witness flagged him down, and he pulled her out of the bin.

“I picked her up, put her on my shoulder and walked across the road,” he said, “brought her to her grandmother. I said, ‘Here, I found her,’ and said, ‘Call the ambulance,'” he said.

Henry said he saw the bricks believed to have been used to hit the girl.

“It can’t be no other debris, but that brick, but those bricks in that bin,” he said.

Rescue crews transported the child to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital with severe head trauma. She is listed in critical condition.

Henry said he can’t get the image of the bloodied girl out of his head.

“The baby in the garbage, the blue bin, like if they’re putting her out to recycle,” he said.

According to the family, the young girl suffered severe injuries to her head.

Police later arrested Bernard and got a confession from him. Officers said he told them that he hit the girl because she had run out of the house and tried crossing the street.

Investigators said Bernard told officers he stopped her, but she wasn’t listening to him.

“He had blood all over his shirt. Blood all over the baby, and we were saying that it couldn’t be anybody else,” said Henry.

“He never showed a sign of doing that, never,” said the unidentified family member.

The family is now wondering why he would do something so cruel.

“You grow with somebody, and to do your own family like that … It’s not like you don’t know her,” said the unidentified family member.

“It was wrong of him doing such a thing,” said Henry.

Bernard appeared in court on Friday. He faces several charges, including attempted second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.

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