Court documents detail 4-year-old's alleged abuse

June 14, 2011 3:43:00 PM PDT
A four-year-old girl was found unconscious in her family's apartment earlier this month. Now her mother and the mother's longtime roommate are both facing charges in connection with the girl's death. In fact, investigators say the girl showed signs of long-term abuse. Autopsy results are still pending, but according to court documents, there are signs the girl may have suffered trauma for a long time.

How a four-year-old girl died in a northwest Houston apartment on Sunforest Drive remains a mystery, but court documents Eyewitness News obtained are detailing disturbing signs of alleged abuse.

"Nothing surprises me anymore," said a neighbor who identified herself only as Renna.

Renna lives next door to where Betsobeth Sandoval was found unconscious back on June 3. She says there was always commotion next door.

"I could hear a lot of screaming and yelling. But they spoke Spanish, so I couldn't ever understand what they were saying," Renna said.

An arrest warrant for the child's mother, Maciel Sandoval, and babysitter Elida Herrera-Garcia shows police found bruises covering the little girl's arms and legs, stomach and backside. They say Betsobeth even had cuts on her fingers, chin, lips and appeared to be under-nourished.

"You have children, you need to take care of your children, not abuse them," Renna said.

The Harris County Medical Examiner's Office told police it also found fractured bones on the girl's body in different stages of healing.

Police say the child's mother described the four-year-old as accident prone and very angry. Investigators say Garcia-Herrera told them they never took Betsobeth to the doctor because they didn't want Child Protective Services to take her away.

Now both women are arrested and charged with failing to get the girl help.

"I'm hoping for justice for the little girl. That's all I can say, you know," Renna said.

Police have also questioned a 14-year-old boy who was present when the girl was found unconscious but there hasn't been any word on whether any charges have been filed against him.

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