LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- The neighbor who called the police after finding a 20-month-old baby bleeding and crying in Las Cruces told ABC-7 if she wouldn't have called, that baby would have died.
Lourdes Acosta said she heard the baby next door crying and found a disturbing scene when she went to investigate.
"When I opened the door the baby was on the floor bleeding and crying. I was calling the cops. That's when Tony rushed in and they started fighting and I was telling the ambulance 'Hurry! Hurry up!'" Acosta said.
Las Cruces Police Spokesman Dan Trujillo said they were called to the scene because of a fight between Juan Morales, 26, and a man identified as Tony. Police said Tony was angry with Morales for his alleged involvement in abusing the baby. Police said they were called about 30 minutes after the right and they had no idea about the injured baby when they arrived.
"It's very unfortunate that nobody even called to tell us there was an injured child. We found out when we got here," Trujillo said.
Several neighbors told ABC-7 the baby's mother, Victoria Gutierrez, 20, liked to party a lot, often leaving the baby unattended for various reasons.
"I know that girl never took care of her kid right. You know when they're hitting the kids. You can tell because they cry all loud, and then all of a sudden she won't be crying," Acosta said.
According to court documents, Gutierrez told police she left her daughter, Nancy-Lynne, in her crib while she went to get a cigarette from a neighbor. She told investigators when she came back she found the baby bleeding on the bed and Acosta was taking care of her.
Investigators said Gutierrez told them she and Acosta started wiping the blood off the baby before police arrived. Acosta denied that, saying she refused to touch the baby for fear of injuring her.
"If I wouldn't have called the cops, that baby would have been dead in the crib. They told me they had it wrapped in a towel and all that. They were not expecting to call the cops. If I didn't call the cops, they wouldn't call the cops," Acosta said.
Gutierrez told investigators Morales was her boyfriend and he was living with her and Nancy-Lynne. Court documents reveal Gutierrez admitted Nancy-Lynne was scared of Morales and would cry uncontrollably when he tried to pick her up.
She also told investigators when Morales was out of town for a few weeks, the baby had no bruises or injuries.
"From the investigation we've also found out there was a period of time when the mother's boyfriend was not around when she could have sought help. She could have sought medical attention for the child but she didn't," Trujillo said.
When investigators asked Morales what happened to the baby, they said he told them several different stories. At first, he told investigators he was at Acosta's apartment and when he returned to check on the baby, she was on the floor. Then he told investigators he left the baby to get milk from Acosta's apartment and when he came back he saw the baby fall out of the crib. He changed his story a third time, telling investigators he had been watching the baby the whole time and he saw her fall out of the crib.
Doctors' initial reports show Nancy-Lynne had two open fractures on her arms and bruises all over her body, including her chest, head, legs and knees.
Gutierrez faces one count of negligent child abuse while Morales is charged with one count of intentional child abuse resulting in great bodily harm. Bond for Morales was set at $50,000 cash while Gutierrez is being held on $10,000 bond.