SAN ANTONIO — An arrest has been made after a San Antonio toddler could be seen gasping for air and smoking what local authorities say seems to be marijuana in a video that's gone viral on social media. The child's sister, Larissa Contreras, was arrested Thursday afternoon by Bexar County deputies.
A few hours later, Contreras's boyfriend, 19-year-old Thomas Esquivel, was also taken into custody on child endangerment charges. On Friday, a 16-year-old man represented the third arrest in the case; authorities say he was recording the video, and also faces charges of child endangerment.
According to Sheriff Javier Salazar, at one point in the video while the 3-year-old is choking, others in the car can be heard laughing. One of them, the sheriff said, is Contreras.
"I guess they thought it was hilarious," Salazar said. "And you can see in the video they thought it was the funniest thing ever that this little boy was smoking a blunt, coughing and getting physically ill. They thought it was (the) funniest thing in the world. But she isn't laughing right now, is she?"
Contreras didn't say anything to the cameras on Thursday while she was being transported to a local jail. Investigators said the teen was in charge of watching her younger sibling and was live on Facebook during the incident. The video has generated lots of shares, and was sent several times to Jasmine McGill, an advocate against child abuse.
"A parent and a human being looks at this in disgust," she said. "And then you automatically have sympathy for this poor child who is relying on those adults for his survival in life."
McGill, who runs the nonprofit King's Angels, personally sent the video post to the sheriff to investigate.
"We had multiple anonymous family members come forward and identify the people in the video, which helped investigators," she said. "The child is blessed that the right people saw this video."
McGill encourages people to report child abuse immediately or call 911 if it is an emergency. The Texas Abuse Hotline is 1-800-252-5400.
Salazar said that, as of now, the parents of the toddler are not facing any charges. He said they were not there during the incident and trusted their daughter to watch her younger sibling. He did, however, say more arrests are possible.
As for Contreras, she is facing a felony charge of endangering a child.
Salazar said CPS is also investigating the case, adding that the little boy is safe at home with family.