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Suspect in brutal child assault case turns himself into Jefferson County authorities

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Posted at 9:32 PM, Sep 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-18 12:17:59-04

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. – A 21-year-old man wanted by Jefferson County deputies for the alleged brutal assault of a 2-year-old girl found outside a school days after the attack turned himself into Jefferson County authorities.

Joshua James Gonzales walked into the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Sunday evening where he was booked on felony child abuse charges.

Gonzales was the target of a four-day manhunt after deputies alleged he viciously beat his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter sometime on Monday, Sep. 11. The alleged physical assault caused brain bleeding, fractured ribs, a tear in the girl's liver and bruises all over her body. 

The child -- suffering from life-threatening injuries -- 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.

The victim was rushed to Denver Health where doctors discovered the child had a lacerated liver and was suffering from severe head trauma. She is expected to survive, but the injuries could have long-lasting effects.

Deputies say Gonzales is in a relationship with the little 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.

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 is expected to appear in court Monday on charges of child abuse resulting in bodily injury, a class 3 felony. His bond amount has not been set.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office thanked the public for their help in bringing Gonzales in.