By Julia Urquizo
RIVERSIDE, CA- A police investigator testified in a preliminary hearing Thursday against a couple accused of child torture—the judge Friday ruled the case would go to trial in Riverside County Superior Court, and set an arraignment for the couple.
*NOTE: The Vanguard will not identify the defendant(s) by name to protect the identity of juveniles.
The three victims include a male under the age of five and two females between ages 14 and 16 during the time of alleged abuse in 2019.
On the morning of their arrest, the male defendant dropped off his nearly five-year-old and 14-year-old at the female defendant’s house.
As the children lined up in the hallway waiting for the female defendant to inspect them before school, the five-year-old male left to retrieve his shoes from her bedroom. It was not until the female defendant noticed the victim was unresponsive to her calls that she entered the bedroom and found the victim lying face down on the floor.
She performed, according to the report, chest compressions on the victim and directed her son to call 911. However, the ambulance never showed because she allegedly told her son to cancel the 911 request shortly after reviving the five-year-old.
The police investigator testified that once the child was revived, the female defendant directed the female victim to put him in the car so that the female defendant could drive him to the hospital.
Allegedly, the female defendant dropped off the other children at school before taking the male victim to the hospital, although he had soiled his pants and was non-responsive. According to the investigator’s testimony, the male victim’s older sister ushered him into the ER while the female defendant looked for somewhere to park.
The young male victim was in such a fragile state during his stay at the hospital that the staff could not assess his injuries because any movement of his body would cause him to flatline. The investigator noted in his report that the male victim endured invasive medical procedures such as a craniotomy (removing a piece of bone in his skull to allow the brain to swell) and had a plastic tube inserted into his throat.
Child Protective Services removed the three victims from the couple’s care due to the young male victim’s life threatening conditions.
Notably, the investigative report mentioned that none of the victims disclosed abuse until after forensic interviews during a therapy session. All of the victims’ reports corroborated with each other that they feared abusive retaliation from the couple.
Among the reported details of abuse, the victims endured military torture technique procedures like kneeling on rice and beans, while the five-year-old male victim was subject to waterboarding. One of the female victims reported that communicating through social media or the male victim asking for food were common triggers for abuse.
Some of the other details of alleged abuse involved the couple allegedly slapping, punching, and whipping the victims with a wooden back scratcher and a computer power cord. The female defendant would allegedly pour hot sauce into the male victim’s food and refuse him water as he cried out for some.
She also allegedly went so far as placing the male victim’s soiled clothing over his head. The report alleged the male defendant was never seen in the room as the waterboarding took place and would only tie or remove ties from the male victim’s hands before or after.
The investigator testified that the female defendant would disclose information to the male defendant about the children’s behavior, driving him to inflict physical abuse upon the victims.
The court will reconvene for the couple’s arraignment on Nov. 12 at 8:30 a.m.