Man removes ankle monitor after girlfriend says he brutally beat her

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A woman said she thought she was going to die at the hands of her boyfriend last week as he drove around beating her in southeast Houston.

Prisca Mendoza said the father of her four children showed up to a bar she was at late Thursday night and threw her into her truck.

"He kept on saying to me, 'Why wouldn't you answer your phone? 'Why were you out?'" the 31-year-old woman said.

She said Heriberto Morantes drove her around for at least an hour beating her. Mendoza said she tried to jump out of the car at least five times because she thought she was going to die.

"I had a Yeti cup and it said my last name and a soccer team name, and he hit me with it," the woman said pointing to a gash on her face. "I have 17 stitches right here."

During the ride around the city, she said her eyes became swollen shut from the abuse.

Eventually, she convinced Morantes to stop at a gas station to get her a drink. She said she pretended to be asleep when he got out of the car but jumped into the driver's seat as soon as he got out.

"I just left," Mendoza said. "He screamed something and then he just started hitting the door, and I just left."

She got help at a nearby gas station and was taken to the hospital where she stayed for eight hours.

Charges have been filed against Morantes, but he is not in custody.

Court records show he is out on bond for a previous domestic violence case involving Mendoza from November of 2020. As part of his bond conditions, he is required to wear an ankle monitor.

Family members said they found the monitor in the home where he was living hours after the attack.

The director of Harris County Pretrial Services said they are aware of the new charges against Morantes when ABC13 asked about him removing his ankle monitor.

"In the event of a tamper alert, the protocol is to reach out and speak with the defendant," Natalie Michailides, the director at Pretrial Services said. "If contact is made with the defendant, they are instructed to report to Pretrial Services to inspect the equipment. In the event, the pretrial officer is not able to contact the defendant, a bond violation report is sent to the court. Pretrial Services has been made aware of it and a violation has been submitted to the court."

Mendoza said she does have reason to believe that the father of her children is still in the area.

She wants him behind bars. In the meantime, she said she is frightened and battling nightmares.

"I felt like somebody was grabbing me," she said of her night terrors. "Everything was dark and then someone would grab me. I couldn't go to sleep."

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