Mom accused of girl's death loses custody

February 2, 2012 3:37:29 PM PST
Since five-year-old Candy Flores was found dead Tuesday night a lot has come to light about what she allegedly endured for years. Not only that, but we've also learned that Child Protective Services has been involved with this family before.

On the day she died, we're told Candy weighed only 24 pounds -- underweight for a five-year-old. According to the charge against her mother, and her alleged admission, Candy was sometimes beaten, hit with a phone cord, tied up with a rope and deprived of food.

Candy's mother, Rosa Gonzalez, is jailed, being held in the county's mental health ward, under close observation for her own safety.

In civil court Thursday afternoon, in a county jail jumpsuit, Rosa Gonzalez lost custody of her five minor children, who wept along with their mother. Gonzalez is accused of fatally injuring their five-year-old sister named Candy.

A few hours earlier, a judge read the probable cause document against Gonzalez, who first claimed the child fell off a toilet and hit her head. The state alleges Gonzalez pulled the little girl violently by the arm from the tub and the child hit her head. But there was more.

A court official read, "The defendant ultimately admitted to investigators that she'd been abusing the complainant for the past five years, as well as that particular day, and the circumstance in the tub that ultimately caused the death of the complainant."

Candy and her family had twice been investigated by CPS. In 2005, case workers investigated neglect and supervision of Gonzalez's oldest child.

The next year was a call of neglect involving then three-month-old Candy. The agency says Gonzalez had been feeding the infant pasteurized milk instead of formula. All the children at the time were removed from the home. The next year, they were returned. In 2008, the case was closed.

The abuse of the little girl, according to the charging document, escalated including being tied with a rope and her face being gouged by her mother's fingernails.

CPS spokesperson Estella Olguin said, "We've got to wonder if family members -- did they not know what was happening to Candy, whether it's the father, relatives, grandparents, aunts and uncles?"

There were no calls to CPS.

Gonzalez's oldest daughter, also named Rosa, who along with her four children lived with Gonzalez, told Eyewitness News off-camera that her mother would spank Candy for discipline. When asked if she saw any abuse, she tearfully said no.

That daughter also lost custody of her four children. CPS will not allow any of the children to be placed in other family members' homes, but is sending them to temporary foster homes.