Arizona Infant Violently Bent in Half by Dad Has Died
PHOENIX, AZ – A 6-month-old baby boy died December 21 after his father aggressively bent him in half to silence his crying.
Robert Anthony Resendiz, 30, was arrested after his infant son arrived at Phoenix Children’s Hospital on December 19 with severe injuries AzFamily.com reported.
Upon examination of the victim’s body, doctors found a grade 4 liver laceration, a left lateral wrist fracture, a laceration of the pancreas and pattern bruising to the right thigh, according to Maricopa County, Arizona, court documents.
In an initial interview with police, Resendiz claimed that he put the baby to sleep on a sofa sometime between 10 and 11 p.m. on December 18. He said that he called 911 more than 12 hours later when the baby did not wake from sleeping.
According to the probable cause statement, Resendiz called 911 and told the receiver he had woken up to find his baby “unresponsive and not breathing” at 12:45 p.m. the next day.
But examination of the infant’s body and statements from the baby’s mother disproved Resendiz’s account of events in his 911 call and initial interview.
The child’s mother said her son was “awake and alert” when she left for work at 9 a.m. on December 19, according to the probable cause statement.
She then texted Resendiz around 9:45 a.m. to “ensure he was properly caring for her son,” and at 11:45 a.m. she received a reply from Resendiz notifying her that the baby was fine.
An hour later, she received another text from Resendiz that said the child was no longer breathing.
Resendiz eventually admitted to police that he had pressed the infant’s legs over his head and bent his body in order to stop him from crying.
“Robert stated he used approximately 65 percent of his strength to place pressure on the victim and did not release pressure until the victim had stopped moving and was limp,” according to the probable cause statement. “Robert used an infant doll in order to demonstrate the position of he and the victim.”
The statement concluded, “Robert also stated he had bitten the infant two times on the body out of frustration.”
Child Abuse reports up, morale poor among
Iowa social workers, consultant reports
Child abuse investigations in Iowa have increased 43 percent since last year, but the state’s response to those reports needs work, according to a wide-ranging review released Friday.
About 8.2 children of every 1,000 in Iowa are in foster care, higher than the national rate of 5.5 per 1,000, the report by the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group shows.
“One long-time external partner observed that the emphasis on working with families and on reunification seems to have been lost.”
The consultant’s review of child welfare practices in Iowa criticized both the Department of Human Services for high turnover and poor morale among caseworkers and state policies and spending priorities.
It was initiated amid investigations into several reported child abuse cases that were not caught in time, including the deaths of Natalie Finn of West Des Moines in October 2016 and Sabrina Ray of Perry last May.
Ray’s adoptive parents and other family members face multiple felonies next year following her starvation and physical abuse.
Finn’s mother was convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping this month. Her ex-husband, Joseph Finn II, goes to trial next month.
The reviewers made numerous short- and longer-term recommendations that likely will be discussed next month at the Iowa Legislature.
The consultants found morale is poor among state social workers.
And while Iowa’s Department of Human Services enjoys a largely stable workforce, turnover and caseloads are high in Polk and Linn counties.
Staff complain that training is insufficient and the state for too long has expected them to do more with less.
The report recommended, among other things, that Human Services:
Provide more accurate caseloads of child welfare workers in each Iowa county and more competency-based training;
Provide better services and communication with children and families; and
Eliminate barriers to its central abuse intake system.
“The department will look closely at the recommendations to see what we can move on within the agency, and what may require legislation or additional action,” spokesman Matt Highland said.
Mandatory reporters of child abuse in Iowa voiced frustration with the state agency charged with investigating abuse because they weren’t able to find out what happened after they provided information, the report found.
“Physicians, educators and providers of community-based prevention services… expressed frustration with their inability to communicate with DHS, particularly following their having made a report,” the report said.
Educators complained that parents often disengaged because they were able to figure out where abuse reports originated, and then those same reports resulted in no intervention by social workers.
“Several also cited situations in which this has resulted in parents’ retaliation against children as information made available to the parents made it clear that children disclosed alleged maltreatment,” the report states. “In these cases, children may cut off communication with teachers, counselors or mentors with whom they had previously trusted.”
But in some places, the report was as much a critique of state leaders’ policy and spending priorities as Iowa’s child welfare practices.
“Child welfare intervention should not be viewed as a substitute for universally available basic health, mental health and supportive community services that can help families, especially those in poverty, to voluntarily access resources needed by themselves and their children that may keep their needs from escalating to the point that they result in a report of abuse or neglect,” the report said.
The state’s child welfare system is not doing enough to engage children’s parents in assessing needs related to child safety and evaluating progress, according to interviews with youth, parents, grandparents, foster parents and DHS case managers.
“One long-time external partner observed that the emphasis on working with families and on reunification seems to have been lost.”
Another issue: Agencies that contract with Human Services are receiving $500 per family for each referral, regardless of whether the family uses the voluntary services.
The consultants voiced concern about child welfare being housed within the Department of Human Services, the state’s largest agency which juggles sizable responsibilities.
They also said its staff is tasked with administering so many programs in search of efficiency, their understanding of child welfare initiatives and policies is hindered.
“Assessing the often multiple and complex needs of families and children who present to child welfare systems requires substantial clinical knowledge and skill in gathering and interpreting information,” the report said.
Texas mother charged with Child Abuse
after son had 323 doctor visits and
13 major surgeries
Dallas County, TX – A community in northeast Dallas is reeling over a 34-year-old mother charged with child abuse after spending the past eight years taking her son to 323 doctor visits and putting him through 13 major surgeries.
Kaylene Bowenwright, of Lake Highlands, was arraigned in Dallas County Dec. 6 on a warrant accusing her of injury to a child with serious bodily injury with bail set at $150,000, according to court documents. Bowenwright was also ordered not to communicate with her son Christopher, 8, and have no contact with other minors.
“Throughout his young life, Christopher has been placed full time on oxygen and, at times, used a wheelchair. He’s endured invasive procedures and surgeries, including being fitted with a feeding tube that fed directly into his small intestine and led to multiple life-threatening blood infections,” the Star-Telegram reported.
Dr. Suzanne Roper-Dakil of Children’s Medical Center Dallas suspected that Bowenwright may have been trying to make Christopher sick, according to an affidavit included in a Child Protective Services petition for Christopher’s removal from his mother obtained by the Star-Telegram. This suspicion was raised after Bowenwright recently took Christopher to the center because of a supposed seizure.
“I am very concerned that mother has moved from exaggerating symptoms to inducing symptoms,” Roper-Dakil wrote in the affidavit. “If mother has given Chris something to induce a seizure, this is potentially fatal. At this point, I am very concerned for his welfare.”
A request for comment has been placed with Children’s Medical Center Dallas.
Christopher’s father Ryan Crawford tried convincing a Dallas County family court judge that his son was not as sick as his mother claimed and she was just fishing for attention. Crawford believes Bowenwright may exhibit Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, a disorder in which a person creates or induces symptoms in others to gain attention.
Bowenwright’s claims regarding her son’s poor health even inspired the Dallas community to start a YouCaring campaign two years ago for Christopher that has raised more than $8,000.
“Christopher is battling a severe case of Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) in his lungs, kidneys, liver, heart and brain. Diagnosed at the age of two, the congenital condition is slowly taking the wind out of the sails of this bright and active boy. His sparkling eyes and ready smile belie the fact that his arteries and veins are no longer working as they should to deliver oxygen-rich blood throughout his body,” the YouCaring campaign states.
A GoFundMe campaign called “Christopher’s Beach Bash” was launched in Aug. 2016. It raised $610 before being shut down. The campaign appears to have been started by a family friend, according to a preserved version of it on Google.
“Never in your life do u want to hear the dreadful ‘C’ word about anyone but hearing it when it comes to a 7-year-old that you love like your own is what I’m facing right now. One of my very dear friends, Kaylene, has a son who has been diagnosed with cancer. Christopher has been given 6 months to love by the doctors but I know the God that I serve and he is more powerful than the words of doctors or attacks from satan,” Lori Hawkins-Sims wrote in the campaign description on GoFundMe.
Doctors determined that Christopher does not have cancer or many of the symptoms that Bowenwright claims and which inspired the YouCaring and GoFundMe campaigns, the Star-Telegram added.
A request for comment has been placed with Bowenwright’s public defender.
Holmen school worker charged with
sexual, physical Child Abuse
La Crosse, Wisconsin – A Holmen school district employee is accused of sexually and physically abusing a child over the course of about six years.
Timothy Schilling, 47, raped the boy, beat him with a belt, slapped his genitals with a fly swatter, and urinated on him, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in La Crosse County Circuit Court.
The boy told police the abuse began when he was about 6 and recounted several occasions when he was raped, according to the criminal complaint. The boy described another encounter when he was about 8 when Schilling hit his bare back with a belt.
According to the complaint, Schilling slapped his face, urinated on his leg, and wrung out soiled underwear over his head when the boy struggled with wetting his pants. He also pulled on the boy’s genitals and hit them with a fly swatter.
Prosecutors charged Schilling with repeated sexual assault of a child, two felony counts of physical abuse of a child and four counts of disorderly conduct. The most serious charge carries a maximum 60-year sentence. He is free on a signature bond.
Schilling, an educational assistant who worked in building security, was put on unpaid leave after he was arrested Nov. 27, according to a letter the district sent to parents.
School District Administrator Kristin Mueller said in the letter that Schilling did not work in classrooms and that his employment was under review.
Mueller said Wednesday that he remains on unpaid leave.
OAG’s Child Exploitation Unit Arrests 3 Men
for Possession of Child Pornography
AUSTIN, TX – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) of his office arrested three men this week on charges of Possession of Child Pornography, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison per charge.
On November 28, CEU investigators arrested 34-year-old Clifton Wayne Cisco of Princeton following National Center for Missing and Exploited Children® (NCMEC) CyberTipline report. He was charged with two counts of Possession of Child Pornography.
On November 29, CEU investigators arrested 29-year-old Darrin Dustin Maxwell of Silsbee after the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) suspected him of uploading child pornography to an online photo storage account. In addition to facing two counts of Possession of Child Pornography, Maxwell was also charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance by HCSO investigators.
On November 30, CEU investigators arrested 21-year-old Colton Keith Lebouff of Bridge City on four counts of Possession of Child Pornography. During a search of his home, several digital storage devices were seized by the authorities and will be examined by the Digital Forensics Unit of the attorney general’s office. Lebouff admitted to possessing child pornography.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators online.
The CEU proactively seeks out and arrests predators who commit crimes against children using technology and online sources.
Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks our children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their children’s safety.
If you suspect someone of producing or downloading child pornography you can report it to NCMEC.