Dispute arises over severely abused boy

Dispute arises over severely abused boy »Play Video
A provided photo shows injuries to an allegedly abused Bakersfield boy. Mother Rebecca Valles said she's being accused of the abuse, but she blames relatives.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A Bakersfield mother says she's being accused of causing serious injuries to her toddler, but she said she didn't do it. Rebecca Valles told Eyewitness News the child has been in the care of relatives. Those family members told officers they found the injuries after the child was returned from spending two weeks with his mother.

"I don't know how these people can just sit here and just accuse me of doing that to my son," Valles said tearfully Tuesday. The mother said the little boy had been with the relatives since February, and she hadn't seen him since a short visit at the welfare office in April.

Valles has a police investigation report that was included in a custody hearing. That document says the child had "extensive burns on his face, body and the soles of his feet, due to apparent cigarette burns." The report also says the child has a broken jaw, missing teeth and a head injury.

"They said that he was burned from his nose down, from chemicals," the mother said. She also said she believes the child was found with evidence that bones had been broken a while ago.

Valles said she took the child to his father's cousin's home when she didn't have a place to live, after she couldn't find enough work. She believed they would give him a better home than she could at that time. She said that was in February.

Those relatives told investigators that Valles came to pick up the child on June 9. She disputed that.

"I don't know how they keep saying I picked him up on June 8 or 9, when I was sitting in the emergency room at Kern Medical Center," Valles told Eyewitness News. She says it makes no sense that she had some man then drop the child off at the relatives' home on the night of June 22.

But, that's what investigators say the family reported. The cousin's wife reportedly told officers she took the child from the man, put the boy to bed, and at that time noticed he was "sick and shivering."

In the morning, the wife said she noticed the toddler's "forehead felt smooshy,” according to the report. She decided to take him to the hospital, but waited until a ride was available that evening.

In that household, officers said there's the cousin and his wife, plus their three children. The wife's mother also lives there, along with her two adult children at some times, and her four minor children.

Everyone in the family was questioned about the toddler's physical condition during his time in their home. The adults said the child seemed to have a rash or sores on his body that he would pick at, sometimes causing bleeding.

The three adults said the child was with his mother for the two weeks in June. Several of the children in the home said the boy never spent the night any place else, and his mother never visited him. One child reportedly told officers he saw injuries to the toddler's face after the child visited his mother.

The police report states the two women in the house admitted to past drug use, the cousin told officers he has a medical marijuana prescription, but his last methamphetamine use was nine months ago. The report includes a list of prior court cases, and that shows mostly drug use charges by the cousin and his wife.

The report also lists past cases against the mother, including drug charges, burglary, forgery, disorderly conduct and prostitution. Valles said she's spent time in jail and prison, and she won't downplay her personal problems and poor choices.

But, Valles said she didn't hurt her son.

"I pray to God, that God helps me find justice to show what these people have done to my son," she said, adding that's why she's stepping forward.

Valles said she's been told her son is "pulling through" and he's still being cared for at Children's Hospital Central California in Madera. A spokeswoman could not confirm the child is at the hospital, though the mother said that could be due to the boy being put into protective custody by the court.

The mother said she was granted the right to visit her child, if that's supervised. She wants to be with him, and hopes she can get transportation up to the hospital.

"My son is never going to be the the same anymore," Valles said. "I didn't do these injuries to my son, there would be no way, no how I could be able to do this to your own child."