PALM SPRINGS, Fla. -- A 22-year-old woman from Honduras has been charged with aggravated child abuse and child neglect after a small child was found wandering down the road by himself in Palm Springs.
Palm Springs Police say they received a call from a citizen on Friday, January 6 at approximately 2 p.m. reporting the male child, who is approximately two to three years old.
Officers responded and met with the citizen and attempted to locate the parents or guardian of the child.
According to police, the child was bleeding from the face and had visible older burns to his hands consistent with possible child abuse and neglect.
Officers say they continued the search for the child's guardian for approximately two and a half hours.
Officers located an open front door and a neighbor telling them that it was possible that it was the home of the missing child.
During their investigation, a Hispanic woman named Denia Lideny Velasquez arrived at the home stating that it was her residence. She told police she was not the biological mother of the child and that the child's parents were in Honduras. She was shown a photo of the child and Velasquez immediately identified the child.
Velasquez was taken to the Palm Springs Police Department to be interviewed by detectives.
Officers at the scene reported that no food was found inside the home in the kitchen area and very limited amounts of clothing for the child were found inside the home. Officers reported that the refrigerator only contained milk.
Velasquez's boyfriend, Carlos Enrique Navarro, reported to the police station to speak with detectives.
According to police, he told detectives that he and his girlfriend Denia Velasquez reside at the address where officers questioned Velasquez. He said he works every day from early morning until night and has very little contact with the child since the child is already in bed when he returns home.
Navarro told police he could only contact the child's parents through Facebook and other social media and that he has regular contact with them.
Velasquez told police that she works as a "coyote", transporting "illegals" from Mexico to the United States of America.
Velasquez says she was dating someone in Honduras who was married to the child's biological mother and was given a fake birth certificate saying that she was the child's biological mother in order to get the boy into the United States.
According to police, Velasquez stated that she knowingly left the child in the house asleep in the bedroom without supervision at approximately 10:30 a.m. so she could go clean a house. She told police that she placed a sofa in front of the bathroom door so the child won't have access to the restroom while she was gone. She also told police that she blocked the bedroom door so the child could not get out.
During the interview, detectives showed Velasquez several photos of the child's injuries taken that day at the hospital.
Police say that Velasquez explained the burn marks on the child's hands, saying that 6 months ago when she went to take a shower, the child touched the hot stove in the kitchen. When asked if she took the child to a doctor after the burn, she said "no".
When presented with another photo showing an injury to the left side of his face and eye, Velasquez claimed those happened three days earlier when the child was jumping on the bed and grabbed the curtain and the rod fell on him, hitting his head and causing the injury.
Velasquez was also shown a photo and questioned about a patch of hair missing from the boy's head. She told detectives that it happened in Honduras when he was in the care of his biological mother.
Police say when questioned about the missing hair, Velasquez's boyfriend, Carlos Navarro, indicated that injury occurred not long ago when the child hit his head in his car.
Velasquez was shown another photo showing what appeared to be a burn mark on the child's right upper thigh. Velasquez says the mark happened three months earlier when the child misbehaved and she used a belt to discipline him, leaving a permanent mark.
Velasquez told detectives that she was not aware of the child ever seeing a pediatrician in his lifetime or any doctor for the injuries.
Denia Velasquez was charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect of a child.
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