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February 04, 2005

Parents Charged In 'Worst Case Of Abuse Ever Seen'

February 4, 2005 [Local - KPRC Click2Houston.com]

In what Houston police call "the worst case of abuse ever seen," a young mother and father were charged with the alleged sexual abuse of their 6-month-old daughter, Local 2 reported Friday.

Police filed a serious bodily injury to a child charge against the baby's parents. However, if the child dies, the charges could be upgraded to capital murder.

The parents were taken in for questioning Wednesday after Texas Children's Hospital workers notified police that their daughter showed signs of abuse and sexual assault.

Investigators said the infant remains in critical condition at the hospital with multiple internal and external injuries throughout her body.

"This is the worst case of abuse that I've personally seen," Houston Police Department Sgt. Randy Upton said. "She had some skull fractures, brain contusions, hemorrhaging, liver injuries, lung and kidney problems, signs of sexual abuse, as well as a severe laceration across her tongue."

Doctors found more injuries upon closer examination.

"In addition to all the internal injuries she had, she also had two broken legs and a broken arm and a broken vertebrae," said Estella Olquin, with Child Protective Services.

The couple, who lives in the 1000 block of Gargan in north Houston, originally took their daughter to Doctor's Hospital Parkway and told medical workers the child was experiencing congestion problems. Hospital officials transferred the infant to Texas Children's Hospital, where the girl was placed in the intensive care unit barely alive.

Police said the baby was breathing on her own Friday but is reportedly experiencing internal bleeding.

Authorities are now investigating injuries discovered in the couple's older child, a 15-month-old daughter.

"The second child had an injury that was healing, a fractured skull, as well as some fractured ribs," Upton said.

Police said the couple's oldest daughter has been placed in a foster home.

Friday afternoon during a placement hearing, a judge ruled that both the baby and her sister would remain in the custody of Child Protective Services pending further investigation.

The judge ordered that family members have no contact with the children.

"We're going to want to know how is it that these family members that are parents around these children didn't know that they were so hurt," Olquin said.

The parents were placed behind bars Friday without bond. If convicted of injury to a child, each faces up to 99 years in prison.

The father was previously charged with injury to a child in connection with alleged abuse against the 15-month-old daughter; however, the case was dismissed in August 2004. The mother has no criminal history.

Both girls were returned to the parents in October after the charges were dropped. They lived with their grandparents during the investigation.

Posted by Nancy at February 4, 2005 05:38 PM