Category Archives: Child Innocence

TN Toddler Left In Hot Vehicle

.jpg photo of vehicular heat stroke victim
Kiara, 11-month-old, was found dead in a hot car

Officers testify in Child Abuse case

CHATTANOOGA, TN  –  The mother of a baby who died in a hot car in Chattanooga last week, stood before a judge today.

As of now, Jessica Tollett is charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse, but that could change.

Jessica Tollett listened on as officers testified in her child abuse case.

Earlier this month, Tollett’s 11-month-old daughter, Kiara, was found dead in a hot car.

Police have charged the father, Travis McCullough in connection to that.  But this launched an investigation into how her three children were cared for.

The two other children were at the scene and taken to the hospital.

“It appeared they had not been bathed recently.  Now when they were brought food by the hospital, they seemed to be very protective of the food, they ate it fairly quickly,” said SVU Investigator Christopher Grafe, with the Chattanooga Police Department.

After leaving the hospital, investigators went to the couple’s home at College Hill Courts.  The judge and lawyers looked over pictures of what was found.

“Walking straight back into the room, which was the worst room in the house.  It had a couch that looked like it had been torn up, in my opinion by a dog.  From my experience it looked like feces all over the ground,” Grafe said.

This isn’t the first time Tollett and McCullough have been investigated for child abuse.  It happened back in 2012, but charges against them for that were dismissed.

A police sergeant described what the motel they were living in at that time was like.

“Once inside the room the infant was asleep on one of the mattresses.  It didn’t have any sheets on it.  There was a comforter partially covering his face.  I immediately moved that off his face.  His face was dirty, his clothes were dirty, the infant also had a heavily soiled diaper.  You could tell it hadn’t been changed in a while,” Sergeant Jamie Barrow, with the Chattanooga Police Department.

Tollett’s lawyer and Prosecutors agree the charges against her should be changed.

“The highest charge that Ms. Tollett should receive in this case is attempt child neglect,” said Erinn O’Leary, a public defender.

But they disagree on what the new charge should be.

“We can say that judging by this defendant’s prior knowledge of how horribly she was keeping her one kid at that time in 2012, to how she is keeping all three of her kids and even in worse condition now that could certainly rise to serious bodily injury at some point,” prosecutor Boyd Patterson said.

The judge will make a decision about the charges on Wednesday morning.

Mother Now Charged With Abuse Of Child

.jpg photo of mother charged with abuse
Valerie Pastran, 21

Tucson woman arrested week after
boyfriend in Child Abuse case

TUCSON, AZ  –  Police said on Friday, May 5, that they have arrested a Tucson woman in connection with a child abuse case for which her boyfriend was arrested last month.

According to Tucson Police Department Sgt. Pete Dugan, 21-year-old Valerie Pastran was arrested on Thursday, May 4.  She was booked on one count of child abuse, Dugan said.  She was released later that night.

NM Fighter Accused Of Child Abuse

Gilbert Cuhen, an MMA fighter from New Mexico, was arrested on abuse charges on April 27 after Pastran’s 3-year-old girl was found unresponsive in a home on Tucson’s south side.  Cuhen was also charged with child abuse.

Dugan said on April 27 that the child was in critical condition.  The child’s family said she was on life support.

Tucson News Now will update this late breaking story as details become available.

NM Fighter Accused Of Child Abuse

.jpg photo of man suspected of Child Abuse
Gilbert Cuhen, 31

Arrest made in Child Abuse case

TUCSON, AZ  –  A three-year old is in critical condition and an arrest has been made after a child abuse call Wednesday, April 26, when a woman driving her daughter to the hospital called 911.

According to TPD, 31-year old Gilbert Cuhen, the boyfriend of the child’s mother was arrested Thursday.

New Mexico MMA fighter faces child abuse charges

The mother told police everyone was home when she heard commotion in the backyard, when she went back to check she found her daughter unresponsive and drove her to the hospital.

On her way to the hospital she dialed 911 when her daughter was getting worse, according to TPD.  Police and firefighters arrived and determined the girl’s injuries were a result of physical abuse.

When police went to question Cuhen at the house, he was not there and it was later found out he left to New Mexico to stay with family.

While in New Mexico Cuhen did speak to authorities, according to TPD.

Cuhen drove back to Tucson Thursday after speaking with a detective in the child abuse unit at TPD over the phone.

After driving to the TPD station Cuhen was taken into custody and arrested on two counts of child abuse.

Drunk FL Teens Lead Law Enforcement To Foster Parents

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Florida Couple Charged With 700 Counts Of Child Abuse

Florida Couple Charged With 700 Counts Of
Child Abuse Against 11 Children

FLORENCE, AL  –  A Florida couple was charged Wednesday with 700 counts of child abuse, sexual abuse and other crimes against 11 children they adopted or fostered for seven years while living in Alabama.

Florence Police detective Sgt. Brad Holmes told local media that 47-year-old Daniel W. Spurgeon faces 388 counts.  His 52-year-old wife, Jenise Spurgeon, faces 312 counts.

Both are jailed in Fort Myers, Florida, where they have pleaded not guilty to child abuse charges.  Jenise Spurgeon was arrested Wednesday on the Alabama warrants during a court hearing in Florida.  Holmes said Daniel Spurgeon would be arrested on the Alabama warrants if he posts bail in Florida.

It’s unclear if either has a lawyer.

Holmes said police seek to have both of them returned to Alabama.

Florence police have been investigating since they were contacted last summer about crimes the couple committed in Cape Coral, Florida.

“Their investigation led detectives to believe that abuse had occurred in Alabama while the couple lives in the Florence area,” Holmes said.

He said suspected victims ranged in age from toddlers to teenagers. The couple moved to Florida in 2015.  Police in Cape Coral began investigating them after they responded to a call regarding two intoxicated teenagers in summer 2016.

Daniel Spurgeon is charged with 115 counts of first-degree sex abuse, 122 counts of child abuse, four counts of first-degree sodomy, four counts of sexual torture, three counts of domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation, six counts of first-degree rape, 115 counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes, six counts of incest and 11 counts of first-degree human trafficking 2 counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12.

Jenise Spurgeon is charged with 100 counts of child abuse, one count of domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation, 11 counts of first-degree human trafficking, 100 counts of endangering the welfare of a child and 100 counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes.

Holmes said Florence police have conducted extensive interviews, resulting in thousands of pages of documentation.

“We were very cautious not to rush to judgment, to be extremely thorough,” he said.

Worst Case Of Child Abuse PA Doctor Says

.jpg photo of Geisinger Medical Hospital
Geisinger Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital in Danville, PA

Osceola Mills Child Abuse Case Called “Worst” Doctor Has Ever Seen in
Three-Week-Old Infant

OSCEOLA MILLS, PA  –  An Osceola Mills couple has been accused in what a Geisinger Medical Center doctor has called the “worst case” of child abuse he’s ever seen in a three-week-old infant.

Aaron John Mills, 32, of Osceola Mills has been charged by state police at Clearfield with aggravated assault, F1; aggravated assault, F2; conspiracy/endangering the welfare of children, M1; endangering the welfare of children, M1; simple assault, M1; recklessly endangering another person, two counts, M2; and use/possession of drug paraphernalia, M.

Stephanie Diane McGuire, 22, also of Osceola Mills, has been charged with conspiracy/endangering the welfare of children, M1; parent/guardian/other commits offense, M1; recklessly endangering another person, M2; and use/possession of drug paraphernalia, M, two counts.

According to the affidavits of probable cause, on March 1 McGuire took her infant daughter to a doctor’s appointment to be examined for a diaper rash at Geisinger Medical Center, Philipsburg.

She was examined and diagnosed with bruising to her forehead, the tip of her nose and the left side of her abdomen.  She had a severe diaper rash with a prolapsing rectum.  The infant was transported to Mount Nittany Medical Center by ambulance.

The same day, she was transported to and admitted for treatment at the Geisinger Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital in Danville, Pa.

She was diagnosed with multiple areas of abrasions and excoriation over the face and flank of right great toe; several bruises over the head, abdomen, right arm and legs bilaterally; excoriated and denuded perianal region with deep perianal furrows and anal prolapse; a left, fourth anterior rib facture; and bilateral, medial and lateral metaphyseal corner factures of the femurs.

In a phone interview with state police on Friday, Paul J. Bellino, M.D., Geisinger Medical Center, stated that, “This was the worst case of child abuse in an infant of this age that he has ever seen.”

In particular, the injury to the infant’s mouth and nose would have created an “extreme” amount of blood loss and pain, Bellino told state police.

According to state police interviews with Mills and McGuire, the infant was in their sole care at their residence on Edwards Street in Osceola Mills.  Both stated that she wasn’t in the care of anyone else between Feb. 26 and March 1 when these injuries occurred to her.

Mills allegedly admitted to pulling the infant girl up off the changing table by her ankles forcefully and causing injuries to her legs while caring for her Feb. 26.  According to the affidavits, both Mills and McGuire failed to seek immediate medical treatment for the infant for her severe diaper rash and injuries.

Bail has been set for Mills and McGuire at $100,000 and $50,000, respectively.  Their preliminary hearings have been scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday during centralized court at the Clearfield County Jail.