A safety monitor approved by Child Protective Services to be a caregiver for a 4-month-old girl and the woman’s boyfriend were arrested by Chandler police on Tuesday after an investigation revealed that the baby had 14 broken bones and a cigarette burn.
Police arrested Angelica Jimenez, 25, on suspicion of hindering prosecution and child abuse. Steve Saldana, her 30-year-old boyfriend, was arrested on suspicion of three counts of child abuse.
Police say Saldana was staying at Jimenez’s residence when the incident happened Aug. 3 and when he began abusing the baby four days earlier she never reported it to authorities. The baby was taken to the hospital after Jimenez discovered the girl was not breathing. Medical personnel were able to resuscitate the baby, and after conducting a number of tests discovered the girl had multiple bruises and abrasion on her body in addition to the broken bones and cigarette burn, according to police.
At first, Jimenez told police and CPS she was home alone with the baby when she noticed that the child was not breathing and that Saldana did not reside with her.
Jiminez, the safety monitor is not an employee of CPS, but is someone who knows the family of the child and agrees to take care of them, according to Steve Meissner, a spokesman for Child Protective Services, said CPS conducts a background check on prospective safety monitors for children placed in other homes to make sure they are fit to be caregivers and decides whether to approve them, Meissner said.
But police say Saldana, who was a convicted felon with a long criminal history, did live with Jimenez and began abusing the child July 31. Saldana also abused the child Aug. 2, according to police.
In 2008, Saldana was convicted of an aggravated DUI and a dangerous drug violation and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was released in June 2010, according to Arizona Department of Corrections records. During his short time in prison, Saldana was disciplined six times, including for violating sanitation requirements, unsafe use of machinery and branding tattoos or piercings, according to prison records.
The arrests mark the second Chandler couple arrested in a week on suspicion of severe child abuse.
On Aug. 17, Chandler police arrested Melissa Chambers and ex-con Travis Darrah on suspicion of child abuse involving a 4-year-old boy after a monthlong investigation. Darrah told police he had dragged the boy down a hallway by his arm and the boy fell, causing his leg to be broken. Chambers, the boy’s 22-year-old mother, initially was not truthful with investigators during questioning and was arrested on suspicion of hindering prosecution, police said.
Police also uncovered previous incidents of child abuse involving the boy, including a broken rib that was healing.
In 2005, Darrah was convicted of trafficking in stolen property and misconduct involving weapons, according to Arizona Department of Corrections records. He was released from prison in 2008, according to prison records.
Police urge anyone to report suspicion of child abuse to their local law enforcement agency or to CPS, especially if a child routinely has bumps and bruises or if the child is wearing clothing that covers arms or legs in hot weather conditions. For more information, visit www.preventchildabuse.us or call (888) 777-2445.
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