The 23-year-old mother accused of abusing her young son took a plea deal and could possibly avoid prison sentence, court documents say. The mom reportedly locked her 4-year-old son in closets, starved him, and caused serious injuries such as spinal fractures, a brain bleed and a broken arm. The boy told investigators that he would be punished and locked in closets for long periods of time.
Prosecutors said that the 4-year-old boy was not brought to the hospital until a relative forced the 23-year-old mom from New Mexico, Marissa Gutierrez, to do so. Investigators saw that the child had bruises all over his face and what looked like a large welt on his forehead, according to reports.
According to the court documents, the 4-year-old boy weighed 33 pounds. The boy reportedly told investigators that he would be punished and locked in closets for long periods of time. Investigators also found cuts on the boy’s body, but his mother said that the cuts were from self-harm and the boy had broken his arm when he was taking a bath.
The child reportedly said his injuries were a result of periodically being punished by his mother’s girlfriend, Jivona Sandoval.
Prosecutors said that two others are also facing charges in connection to the alleged child abuse. The defendant’s girlfriend, Jivona Sandoval, faces a first-degree felony count of child abuse.
Jivona’s 57-year-old mother, Ema Ferran-Sandoval, is charged with a third-degree felony count of child abuse.
According to reports, the child’s mother has taken a plea deal that could result in no state prison time. The plea agreement shows that the child abuse charges against the mother would be reduced from first degree to third degree.
According to the court documents, the plea agreement also would dismiss an unrelated aggravated battery case in which a woman alleged that the defendant punched and kicked her, leaving her with a concussion.
The plea agreement does not oppose suspending a sentence with supervised probation. This means that the mother could be released but would face the possibility of serving time in prison only if she violates probation.
Prosecutors said that they needed Gutierrez’s testimony to prosecute Jivona, because she was the more culpable defendant in the case. Gutierrez is currently slated to testify against Sandoval in her trial beginning Dec. 7.
This story will be updated as new information become available.