Three women are behind bars at the Erath County Jail after calls to Child Protective Services and Dublin EMS led law enforcement officials to a single-wide trailer in the Oasis Trailer Park in Dublin.
Two of the women are being held for serious bodily injury to a child, a first-degree felony, and the third for forgery by passing, a state jail felony.
According to Chief Investigator Donnie Hensley with the Erath County Sheriff’s Department, CPS received a report last week about a 20-month-old child who would not eat and was uncontrollable.
A sheriff’s deputy went to the trailer park to locate the family. After beating on doors at the trailer park, where the homes bear no visible addresses, the residence could not be located. Other residents said they had no knowledge of the child.
On Monday, Dublin dispatch received a 911 call from the same residence. Dublin EMS and Officer Clayton Hollifield with the Dublin Police Department responded.
When Hollifield arrived at the scene, he contacted the sheriff’s department and described the child’s injuries. Hensley advised the officer to place the child in emergency custody and take him to Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital.
Investigator Randy Fowler with the sheriff’s department responded to the hospital, where he found the mother of the child, Jeannette Cuevas, 21, holding the toddler. He said the child had suffered severe abuse.
Fowler said the child had bruises from head to toe, trauma and bruising to the left ear, chipped teeth, a busted lip and nose, bilateral hemorrhaging in both eyes, and bruises on his entire face.
Fowler said Cuevas showed no concern or compassion for her child, and insisted the injuries were not serious.
Angelica Espinoza, 27, a resident of the home where the mother and child were staying, was also present at the hospital. Fowler said she also showed no signs of compassion and said the child screamed a lot and annoyed the others in the home, where four adults and eight children ranging from ages 20 months to 10-years-old, lived.
The child was transported to Cook Children’s Medical Center, where it was determined that in addition to the visible injuries, the child had suffered fractures to the right arm, which showed to be three to four weeks old, and other injuries including brain trauma.
The examining doctor said if law enforcement officials had not stepped in when they did, the child would have likely been found dead.
Authorities said they believe the abuse likely began in September. Cuevas and the child moved to Erath County in August when her boyfriend was jailed in Karnes City.
Cuevas was arrested and charged with serious bodily injury to a child.
Hensley said Espinoza was already under investigation for passing three fraudulent checks in the county and confessed to forgery during the abuse investigation. She remains under investigation on child abuse charges.
The third arrest came Wednesday when Leticia Adame, 44, was interviewed at the sheriff’s department. It was determined that she had taken part in the abuse and had also engaged in a physical confrontation with Cuevas. Adame was also charged with serious bodily injury to a child.
Hensley explained that the man in the house is likely not involved in the abuse since he was the only working adult in the home, and spent up to 15 hours a day at work.
Hensley said that all seven of the other children, who showed no signs of abuse, have been removed from the home and placed in foster care.
The victim has been released from the hospital and is in foster care. Hensley said while the toddler was not able to digest Jell-o or ice chips when admitted to the hospital, he is eating, thriving and breathing independently.
“Win or lose, the kids are in a safe place,” Hensley said.
Sheriff Tommy Bryant said quick-paced investigative work saved the child’s life, and said the investigators did an outstanding job.
In convicted, Cuevas and Adame face five to 99 years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. Espinoza faces 180 days to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Cuevas is being held on $75,000 bond, Adame on $50,000 and Espinoza on $20,000.