An arrest warrant has been issued for Iliana Archuleta, 40, the owner of Honey Tree Preschool and Child Development Center, a Northwest side daycare, in connection with a child abuse case.
Archuleta’s brother–in-law, 26-year-old Rogelio Archuleta (pictured) was arrested Wednesday on three counts of injury to a child.
Iliana Archuleta will face the same charges whenever she is taken into custody, according to Det. Louis Antu, spokesman for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
Antu said investigators have learned that she currently “is in Houston with her lawyer.”
The charges stem from an investigation concerning Iliana Archuleta’s three adopted children -- a 10-year-old boy and girl who are twins and their 8-year-old brother, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
The affidavit stated that the situation came to light Saturday when the younger boy suffered a seizure and was taken to a hospital. It stated hospital staff noticed the boy was malnourished and had bruises on his body.
Upon further investigation, sheriff’s detectives said they found all three children showing signs of malnourishment. They said they interviewed the girl, who told them she and her brothers were forced to sleep together in a bathtub at night and subjected to beatings.
The affidavit stated that the girl told them they were rarely allowed to eat, that when they behaved well, they were given half a sandwich. When they did not, they were forced to eat a stick of butter and drink water, the affidavit stated.
The child also told investigators they were forced to bite their misbehaving sibling’s body parts, and that she lost part of her left ear during a biting incident, the affidavit stated.
"How can somebody do this to their own kids?” said Robert Rivera, who, is the father of an adopted child. “It's ridiculous. And then have a business that deals with kids."
Rivera and Carlos Cardenas work out at a business in the same strip mall. They stopped off Thursday morning, peering through the windows of the shuttered daycare.
"I’m adopted. The people that adopted me did treat me with a lot of love," Cardenas said. "It's a shame that people do that, you know? It's, like, why? Why do people have to do that?"
Investigators said there’s no evidence at this point that any of the children who were students at the daycare were abused.
However, according to the affidavit, Iliana’s children, who were home-schooled, said some of their alleged abused took place inside the business.
Her daughter told investigators they were often locked inside the office all day long and not allowed out even to use the bathroom. She said, instead, they were forced to wear diapers, the affidavit stated.
The business closed its doors suddenly Wednesday afternoon. The owner reportedly was asked to shut down voluntarily during the investigation.
On Thursday morning, the daycare remained closed with a sign on the door asking people to call a number listed and voice support for the business.
A voicemail message stated that the number was for the office of a worker with the state child care licensing office.