Baby 'battered' by father, mother charged too

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by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on May 22, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 22 at 7:41 PM

HARRIS COUNTY – A 7-week-old baby is recovering from horrific injuries and prosecutors have charged the child’s father and mother with the crime.

Jeremy Santiago, 19, and Claudia Fernandez, 20, were charged with injuring a child in Harris County criminal court.  The couple is not married. They do not live together. However, they share custody of a one-year-old boy and a two-month-old girl. 

In April, when the girl was just 7-weeks-old, Fernandez dropped the children off at Santiago-Vargas’ apartment for a visit, according to court records.  Those same records said he got high on marijuana and Xanax, for which he does not have a prescription.  Prosecutors said Santiago-Vargas became irritated when the baby would not stop crying.  He admits shaking the child, according to court records.

The girl suffered 15 broken ribs, a fractured shin bone, bleeding in her lungs, on both sides of her brain and below her cortex, which is the thinking part of the brain.

Four days later, when Fernandez picked up her children, she took them to her apartment in Northwest Harris County.  Authorities said she did not report the baby’s injuries.  Instead, Fernandez waited until the child was gasping for air before calling 911, according to court records.  Those same records said Fernandez waited because she was afraid Child Protective Services would take her kids away.

“It is harder when the parents are in jail and they can’t undergo some of the services that help alleviate the problems that caused this to happen,” said Estella Olguin, spokesperson for Child Protective Services.  “CPS, what we would have to look at is the long-term goal for these children (whether that is) to be raised by their relatives or adopted by their relatives.”

At this point, with both parents in jail, CPS may have no choice except doing exactly what the couple feared.

For now, both children are staying with relatives of Fernandez.  She and Santiago-Vargas remain in jail on $30,000 bonds.
 

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