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Case in boy's death at Salt Lake restaurant delayed

A preliminary hearing for the man and woman charged with killing a 9-year-old boy by forcing him into a tub of ice water has been rescheduled to Nov. 21.

Prosecutors were set to go forward with a preliminary hearing Monday for Rebecca Hernandez-Velasco and Pedro Gaucin-Canales, who both are charged with first-degree felony murder. Witnesses including uniformed police officers and the state medical examiner were on hand.

However, court-appointed defense attorneys for Gaucin-Canales told 3rd District Judge Sheila McCleve that his family had been exploring the idea of hiring private counsel and needed more time to see if he could get a private attorney.

The judge granted the request and rescheduled the preliminary hearing.

Gaucin-Canales, 35, and Hernandez-Velasco, 19, also are charged with child abuse and obstructing justice, both second-degree felonies.

Court documents state that Salt Lake City police on July 22 responded to a call from the Melting Pot Restaurant, where they found the body of Hernandez-Velasco's brother, Josue Contreras-Velasco. Prosecutors contend the pair, who worked at the restaurant, had punished the boy by forcing him to stand naked in a garbage can filled with ice and water, which caused hypothermia leading to the child's death.