SAN ANTONIO (WOAI) — New details are coming to light after a San Antonio couple was arrested for severe child abuse of a 3-year-old boy.
Brandy Laurel, 24, and Justin Garcia, 25, were arrested on Thursday and charged with injury to a child recklessly causing serious bodily injury, a third-degree felony.
According to the arrest report, Bexar County Sheriff's deputies were called on May 3 to Methodist Children's Hospital off Louis Pasteur Drive for a toddler with a multitude of injuries to his head, face, back and legs.
A nurse told the deputy that the little boy had a brain bleed that led to swelling all over his head, a black eye and bruises on his back and legs that were in different stages of healing. They also viewed a bruising and a healing scab under his hair, which the nurse said could be caused by "the child's hair being pulled or struck."
Laurel told investigators that she assumed the boy's injuries came from him fighting with his siblings over toys since she didn't witness any incidents of abuse. Deputies reported Laurel didn't seem concerned, was very relaxed and had no explanation for the current injuries, according to the arrest report. During the investigation, it was discovered that the toddler also visited the emergency room on Apr. 22 for a head injury.
Doctors told deputies that the toddler had an increased subgaleal hematoma, which "occurs when veins connecting the scalp to the skull are broken." They went on to say that this is extremely dangerous since the entire blood supply for the body can travel to the scalp. They also said that an injury to the head had patterned bruising to the right temple that "resembles a shoe imprint."
Sheriff Salazar said that the child was released to family members and the couple was only allowed supervised visits, but on May 21, the child was taken to the emergency room at the Dimmit County Regional Hospital.
The 3-year-old was unable to walk. An X-ray revealed that he had both legs broken.
His mother at first had no explanation for the injuries, but later said that the child fell onto his knees and threw his body backwards in a temper tantrum. Doctors didn't buy that explanation, saying that a tantrum in which she described would not "adequately explain the extent of his injuries to both legs."
Instead, a doctor that specializes in child abuse was consulted and said that a "Boston crab" wrestling maneuver could explain those injuries to his legs. That maneuver is when a person is lying flat on their back with a person standing over them. The person standing then hooks each of the person's legs in one arm and turns them over to face down with the legs being bent towards the person's head. The specialist said this would provide enough force and motion necessary to break the child's legs in a single traumatic incident, according to the arrest report.
The little boy was taken to a San Antonio hospital to undergo surgery to repair his broken legs. He is expected to endure a long recovery process but should be able to regain the use of his legs.
Laurel and Garcia are being held in the Bexar County Jail on a $100,000 bond each. The charges carry a maximum penalty that includes up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.