JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. – The 2-year-old girl allegedly abused by a 21-year-old man is now breathing on her own days after the attack left her with bleeding in her brain, fractured ribs and other external and internal injuries.
The suspect in her alleged assault, 21-year-old Joshua James Gonzales, was advised of his initial charges in a Jefferson County District Court room Monday morning.
He is currently being held on a $100,000 bond on a felony charge of child abuse-knowingly or recklessly causing injury. Gonzales turned himself in at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Sunday evening four days after police said he was the suspect in the brutal beating of the young girl, who is the daughter of his girlfriend.
The alleged abuse happened on Sept. 11, and the girl was found three days later outside a Denver elementary school.
Deputies say the victim was with her mother at Doull Elementary School when a concerned citizen, seeing the child was in dire need of medical attention, called 911.
Deputies initially said the girl was suffering from life-threatening injuries, but the court learned Monday that a breathing tube the girl had been required to use had been removed, and that she was breathing on her own.
Deputies say Gonzales is in a relationship with the girl's mother, but it is not clear if the mother was with the child the entire time after she was hurt. However, investigators believe the mother was aware the child was seriously injured at the time the 911 call was made.
Charges against her could be forthcoming, a sheriff’s spokesperson said. Meanwhile, the girl's family wants to know what the mother has not yet been charged.
"As a mother, if you know all this is going on how do you accept it? Because she knew what was going on," said Ana Rodriguez, the child's aunt on her father's side. "He's just an animal."
According to a probable cause affidavit, Gonzales and the girl's mother were fighting when the girl started to cry and Gonzales responded by yanking her arm, hitting her, kicking her and throwing her against a couch.
The mother then intervened and asked Gonzales to leave, the affidavit states.
Gonzales’s arrest affidavit also details an instance in mid-August in which Children’s Hospital had discovered small bruises on the girl’s side, but could not determine what caused them. In that case, the girl’s mother said that the bruising was caused by the girl “rough housing with her brothers,” according to the affidavit.
“Due to this information no charges were pursued,” the officer wrote in the affidavit.
Rodriguez said she called police in August to report abuse after she saw photos of the little girl with a bandaged arm, bruised cheek, black eye and bruised back.
"Anybody that has the power to take this baby away from people has not done anything about it," said Rodriguez, who said she told police the child's life was in danger.
Colorado court records show the girl’s mother has a pending case in Jefferson County from late May on careless driving, hit and run (property damage), failing to report an accident and driving without proof of insurance charges.
On Monday, the First District Attorney’s Office said it had requested the August report for further investigation and possible public release. Gonzales is next due in court on Friday to be advised of the formal charges the district attorney’s office says it expects to file.