VICTORVILLE — A mother and her boyfriend were arrested on suspicion of torturing her 21-month-old child, who weighs just 10 pounds, authorities said Tuesday.
The infant is currently in critical condition at Loma Linda University Medical Center suffering from burns to her feet, arms, chest and genitals, as well as a lacerated liver and a distended stomach due to blunt force trauma, said Detective Randy German of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Victorville station.
Authorities said that there were cigarette burns on her arms and chest, her feet were completely burnt possibly by putting the child’s feet in scalding water, and the burns on her genitals were “consistent with being burned with a curling iron.”
“I’ve been on the department 10 years and this is the worst call I’ve ever been on,” said Detective Ryan Collins, referring to the severity of the child’s injuries.
Officials arrested the girl’s biological mother, Vanessa Woods, 22, and her boyfriend Reginald Hardin Jr., 24, at Desert Valley Hospital on Tuesday and served a search warrant at their temporary residence at the Econo Lodge on Mariposa Road on Tuesday.
In the room, authorities found several blood stains that are to be analyzed for DNA, authorities said.
Woods reportedly took the child to Desert Valley Monday hospital after she began vomiting blood, officials said. She told doctors that the girl had a blistery rash on her forehead, so they gave the infant nearly a full adult dose of penicillin on Sunday, authorities relayed.
“Instead of taking her to the hospital at first they tried to give her apple juice and Tylenol infant drops. Then on Monday morning they said they took her socks off and her skin peeled off with the socks,” German said.
When doctors discovered the girl’s injuries, especially the scar tissue covering her anus, the adults said “they had no idea how she could’ve gotten burnt — they said they thought it was diaper rash,” German explained.
When Hardin arrived at the hospital, he apparently did so in a stolen car, and he and Woods were arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property as well as torture and child abuse, officials said.
“It appeared the child had been continually abused for several months,” German said.
It was unclear whether the child had been sexually abused as well.
VICTORVILLE • A sheriff’s detective and a social services worker told jurors Monday about their interviews with the mother of an injured baby and the mother’s boyfriend just hours after the two took the child to a hospital with burns, cuts and bruises all over the baby girl’s body.
Prosecutors say Venessa Woods, 22, and her boyfriend, Reginald Hardin, 24, abused and tortured Woods’ 22-month-old daughter.
A prosecutor and Hardin’s defense attorney questioned San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Detective Ryan Collins about discrepancies in Hardin’s initial interview with detectives regarding the time that the girl suffered scalding on her feet, and if Hardin knew how or when it happened.
Prosecutor Kathleen DiDonato noted several discrepancies within Hardin’s interview with detectives about the scalded feet, and asked Collins to read from the transcribed interview.
“He noticed something wrong the night before,” Collins testified. But the transcription also indicated that in a different part of the interview Hardin had said he didn’t notice the feet until the morning.
“Hardin said in the morning Venessa took the socks off the baby and the skin came off. Venessa said it was an allergic reaction to medication,” Collins said.
The prosecution also questioned Mary Jane Walker-Coleman, a county Social Services practitioner investigator who interviewed the couple soon after the baby was left at the hospital.
Walker-Coleman said she noticed Woods had a black eye and scratches to her hands and arms during the interview at the Victorville sheriff’s station.
“I asked her how she got the black eye and she stated that (Hardin) hit me,” Walker-Coleman said.
She said she had also asked Woods about the baby’s scalded feet, and Woods told her she thought it was a rash.
Woods’ daughter was admitted to Loma Linda University Medical Center on Jan. 22 suffering from burns to her feet, arms, chest and genitals, as well as having a lacerated liver and a distended stomach due to blunt force trauma, authorities said.
The trial continues Tuesday.