Tag Archives: Child Abuse

First Hot Car Death Of 2021

.jpg photo of heat stroke in hot vehicle graphic
#HotVehicles Are Not #BabySitters

First Hot Car Death in 2021 Confirmed
as we Approach National Heatstroke Prevention Day

April 29, 2021  –  Today it was confirmed that a North Carolina 5-month-old baby lost her little life after being left alone in a hot car last Sunday, April 25.  Preliminary findings from the autopsy report point to the cause of death being environmental hyperthermia which is consistent with statements provided by the mother.

Saturday, May 1st is National Heatstroke Prevention Day.  Though it is too late for this little girl, we need to double our efforts to focus on education and awareness regarding the dangers of hot cars.

This year, Kids and Car Safety is emphasizing that there are technological solutions to put an end to the devastation seen every year of children and animals dying excruciating deaths in hot cars.

“After more than 20 years of public education, the number of children dying in hot cars has gotten worse, not better,” stated Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Cars Safety. “The years 2018 and 2019 were the worst in history with a total of over 100 children that died in hot cars nationwide,” she continued.

Education and public awareness are important, but not enough.  Children will continue to die in hot cars until technological solutions that can sense the presence of a child are standard in all vehicles.

The Hot Cars Act is a federal bill that will be reintroduced in the coming weeks that requires technology that can detect the presence of a child in all new vehicles to prevent hot car injury and death.   This technology is readily available and affordable.

“The only thing more tragic than a child or animal dying in a hot car is knowing that there are solutions that exist that could prevent this.  By not utilizing available technology to sense a child or pet alone inside a vehicle, we are shamefully allowing this to happen over and over again.  The price of inaction is the life of children and that is unacceptable,” said Amber Rollins, Director of Kids and Car Safety.

Nobody believes that a hot car tragedy is going to happen to them or their family until it does.  Kids and Car Safety is calling on the public to take action today by learning what to do if they see a child alone in a vehicle.  The organization is also encouraging parents to adopt several simple habits to protect their children, even if they believe this could never happen to them.

Look Before You Lock Safety Checklist
Create simple habits to help keep your child safe.

Make sure your child is never left alone in a car:

  • Place the child’s diaper bag or item in the front passenger seat as a visual cue that the child is with you.
  • Make it a habit of opening the back door every time you park to ensure no one is left behind.  To enforce this habit, place an item that you can’t start your day without in the back seat (employee badge, laptop, phone, handbag, etc.)
  • Ask your childcare provider to call you right away if your child hasn’t arrived as scheduled.
  • Clearly announce and confirm who is getting each child out of the vehicle. Miscommunication can lead to thinking someone else removed the child.

Make sure children cannot get into a parked car:

  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, especially in the garage or driveway.  Ask neighbors and visitors to do the same.
  • Never leave car keys within reach of children.
  • Use childproofing knob covers and door alarms to prevent children from exiting your home unnoticed.
  • Teach children to honk the horn or turn on hazard lights if they become stuck inside a car.
  • If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards, and trunk of all vehicles in the area carefully, even if they’re locked.

Kids and Car Safety and their safety partners will be sharing posts via social media throughout the day about how child vehicular heatstroke can be prevented with the use of technology.  They are calling on the public and media outlets to join in to support this national effort.

Kids and Car Safety has prepared posts, photos, and graphics that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, newsletters, and websites, etc. to help raise awareness about the importance of adding existing technology to vehicles to help end these predictable and preventable hot car fatalities.

TX Attorney General’s Units Keeping Texas Safe

.jpg photo of Texas Attorney General LogoAG Paxton’s Law Enforcement Round Up

AUSTIN, TX  –  The Texas Attorney General’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week.

  • In Travis County, while working with the United States Marshal’s Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, the Fugitive Apprehension Unit arrested Christopher Michael Garcia in Austin on February 23.  Garcia had an outstanding warrant for murder issued by the Austin Police Department.
  • In Ellis County, Brandon Douglas Wilder was arrested in Midlothian on February 23.  Wilder had an outstanding warrant for Indecency with a Child Sexual Contact issued by the Midlothian Police Department.
  • In Smith County, while working with the Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force, the Fugitive Apprehension Unit arrested Jordan Syncere Hankins in Tyler on February 23.  Hankins had an outstanding warrant for Aggravated Robbery issued by the Tyler Police Department.

The Texas Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Unit made one arrest in relation to sexual assault of a child.

  • In San Patricio County, Gabriel Gonzales, 56, of Mathis was arrested on a sexual assault of a child warrant.  This case was received as a tip from the Polaris National Hotline, as well as a request for assistance by the Mathis Police Department.  During the investigation, it was determined that in 2020, Gonzales sexually assaulted a child in Mathis.  Gonzales was taken into custody without incident and was transported to the San Patricio County Jail with a $40,000 bond.

Child Malnourished And Kept In Crate

.jpg photo of child abuse graphic
Child was malnourished and kept in a wooden crate.

Preliminary hearing held for 4 people
charged with child abuse in
Stone County, Missouri

STONE COUNTY, MO  –  A preliminary hearing was held on Tuesday for four people charged for child abuse back in November.

Dessa A. Barton, 26, W. Dalton McLendon, 26, Kathreine Kost, 56, and Richard A Hilliker, 52, pleaded not guilty to their charges.  Each face charges of endangering the welfare of a child and child abuse.

In a hearing that lasted more than three hours, the Stone County Prosecuting Attorney presented various pieces of evidence and called multiple witnesses to the stand.  Among witnesses were Stone County detectives as well as the ex-boyfriend of Dessa Barton, who is the mother of the child.

Detectives said the then 4-year-old boy suffered from extreme malnutrition.  They also said the young boy spent extended periods of time in a wooden crate constructed of pallets.

On Tuesday Stone County Prosecutor Matt Selby showed a number of photos taken during a search of the home.

Photos showed the crate itself, a make-shift door for the crate as well as blankets and children’s clothing.  During testimonies, detectives said Dalton McLendon previously denied using the crate for the child, instead they say McLendon said it was used for a dog.

Detectives who gave testimony also said McLendon admitted to spanking the boy and sometimes using a belt on him.  Among the photos shared by Selby was a photo of a belt, which detectives described as “the belt.”

“[McLendon said the child] had this problem where he would pee himself,” Stone County detective Matthew Maggard said.

Maggard also said McLendon told him he had issues trying to get the boy to play with him.

“Dalton said he tried to play with [the child] but he never wanted to play with him because he seemed like a standoff child,” Maggard said in his testimony.

Selby also presented phone records between a few of the four.  All four were present during the hearing, but a few of the defense attorneys said some of the evidence did not pertain to each individuals case.

Detectives had also testified that medical personnel told them the child’s injuries were consistent with physical abuse.  One detective said the boy was quite skinny when they saw him.

One investigator who gave testimony said Barton told detectives in an interview that she did not know how her son had hurt himself.  They said Barton said she believed her son was causing self harm.  Detectives said she told them she thought her son need more psychiatric help than medical attention.

Investigators initially received a 911 call on November 6 about the child being unresponsive in a Billings home.  Emergency crews transported the him to a Springfield hospital, then airlifted him to a Kansas City hospital.

Safe For The Holidays, Is This Lazaro Ouando Martinez ?

.jpg photo of child predator wanted by Houston Texas Law Enforcement
Lazaro Ouando Martinez, 45, wanted on Child Sex Abuse case in Houston, Texas.

Where is he?  This 45-year-old man is
accused of continuous Sexual Abuse
of a Child

Crime Stoppers may pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, charging and/or arrest of the suspects in this case.

HOUSTON, TX  –  Crime Stoppers and the Houston Police Department are looking for a man who is accused of continuous sexual abuse of a child.

Lazaro Ouando Martinez, 45, is described as a Hispanic male, about five feet four inches tall, weighing 150 to 180 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Crime Stoppers released his photo early Friday.

Police said it was August of 2019 when they first received a report of the crime from the 200 block of Red Ripple in north Houston.

The victim told investigators the suspect sexually abused them over a two-year period.

Crime Stoppers may pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, charging and/or arrest of the suspects in this case.

Information may be reported by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477), submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org or through the Crime Stoppers mobile app.

Only tips and calls DIRECTLY TO Crime Stoppers are anonymous and eligible for a cash reward.

TN Couple Plead Not Guilty At Arraignment

.jpg photo of man charged in felony abuse of 6 children
Randall Ridenour, 54, of Harriman, Tennessee,

East Tennessee couple charged with
aggravated Child Abuse, assault of
six children

HARRIMAN, TN  –  A couple in Harriman, Tennessee face a slew of aggravated abuse charges of six children, according to a grand jury indictment.

.jpg photo of man charged in felony abuse of 6 children
Michelle Ridenour, 48, of Harriman, Tennessee,

Randall Ridenour, 54, and Michelle Ridenour, 48, of Harriman have been charged with 17 counts of aggravated child abuse, seven counts of aggravated child neglect and five counts of aggravated assault.

The two plead not guilty in an arraignment hearing on Monday, October 26.

The alleged abuses involve six children, ages 6-14, and occurred between Jan. 1, 2018, and June 13 of this year.

According to the list of charges in the indictment, the victims sustained severe bruising from being whipped by a belt.

The charges also allege the couple knowingly treated and neglected the victims, “in such a manner as to inflict injury, and the abuse was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel or involved the infliction of torture to the victim.”

The five counts of aggravated assault listed involve both strangulation or attempted strangulation and the use or display of a deadly weapon, according to court documents.

They are set to appear in court on Friday, Dec. 18.