FARMINGTON — A toddler is in grave condition at an Albuquerque hospital, and a Farmington couple have been arrested on suspicion of child abuse in the case.
Angel Arellano, 23, and Leilah Hastings, 21, were arrested Friday in Albuquerque. They have each been charged with a first-degree felony for abuse of a child resulting in great bodily harm. If convicted, the couple could each face an 18-year prison sentence, said Deputy District Attorney Casey Stone.
On Sept. 18, Arellano's son, Izakia Davis, 1, was rushed from the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. Doctors said Izakia had a skull fracture, massive fluid on the brain, multiple broken bones and was on a ventilator because he couldn't breath on his own, according to court documents. His bone fractures were in various stages of healing.
An investigator from the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department had been meeting with Arellano and Hastings regularly since May after Izakia was hospitalized with a brain injury. According to court documents, Izakia was found unresponsive and was taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center and then UNMH because he suffered from lack of oxygen. Izakia was blinded as a result of the injury, according to court documents.
Police investigated the May incident, but doctors couldn't determine if Izakia's injuries were caused by suffocation or cardiac arrest, said Farmington Police Detective Heather Chavez.
No one was arrested in the incident.
Shauna Samora, the CYFD investigator, met regularly with the couple at their Farmington home after the incident, according to court documents. During a Sept. 17 visit, Samora said Izakia didn't look normal, according to court documents. She ordered Hastings to take the toddler to the hospital but that did not happen, according to police.
The next day, Arellano took his son to an eye appointment at the school in Albuquerque. Staff at the school said the boy was in "horrible" condition and had him transported to the hospital, according to court documents. Arellano allegedly became upset with staff for sending his son to the hospital, according to court documents.
Dr. Leslie Strickler, Izakia's doctor, said the boy's injury in May weakened his bones, making them more prone to breaking. In a child abuse response team report, she wrote that, in her opinion, his injuries were caused by abuse.
Chavez said Arellano and Hastings have declined to speak with investigators and requested attorneys.
"Their charges are based on the fact that there was a blind infant in their care who has a skull fracture and multiple broken bones," she said.
The Ethics Board at UNMH met last week and determined that nothing could be done medically for Izakia, according to court documents. He was taken off life support on Friday and is currently breathing on his own, according to a Farmington police news release.
"He was moved from the intensive care unit to general pediatric care, and doctors are looking for hospice care for him," Chavez said.
Doctors at UNM, as well as attorneys for CYFD, the family and Izakia's court-appointed representative, agreed with the decision to take the child off life support.
Chavez said the CYFD investigation showed that Arellano and Hastings were taking parenting classes and were Izakia's only caregivers.
"As both Arellano and Hastings were trained to care for Izakia and were with him and caring for him, one or both should have noticed the changes in Izakia and being fully aware of his medical condition and needs, should have sought help from the local hospital, but failed to do so," Chavez wrote in her report.
Arellano's and Hastings's charges can be amended if Izakia dies as a result of his injuries, according to the San Juan County District Attorney's Office.
Hastings and Arellano are each being held at the Bernalillo Metropolitan Detention Center on a $750,000 bond. They are scheduled to be extradited to San Juan County on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, to be held pending trial, Chavez said.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.