Child-abuse cases in Bexar County down 28 percent, advocates say cases go unreported

Ricardo Hernandez, 21, accused of causing deadly injuries to 4-year-old

SAN ANTONIO – Several disturbing cases of child abuse have been reported in and around Bexar County this year.

The latest incident involves Ricardo Hernandez, 21, who is accused of causing deadly injuries to 4-year-old Jordan Altamirano.

Family Violence and Prevention Service's Judi Yahn, who is the director of the Judicial and Military Services Court Liaison Program, sits in courtrooms daily, listening to some of the latest cases in the area.

"(Cases) ranging from medical neglect, physical abuse, malnourishment," Yahn said.

She said many of the cases involve people not related to the children but who are in a relationship with a parent.

Yahn sometimes has difficult conversations with the biological parents of the victims.

"So often, they're so confused, not believing that this occurred and also defending (abusers) and wanting to stay in a relationship with them," Yahn said.

San Antonio Police Department investigators say Hernandez was dating Altamirano's mother. Investigators believe Hernandez killed the young boy while caring for him and three other children Saturday night. The arrest affidavit states Altamirano suffered a broken back and torn aorta.

"We'll probably see that case come into these courtrooms in a couple weeks," Yahn said.

A newly released report by the Health Collaborative showed confirmed cases of child abuse are down by 28 percent in the last five years in Bexar County. However, executive director Elizabeth Lutz said the findings are nothing to celebrate because it's likely many cases are going unreported.

"We have advocates like Child Advocates of San Antonio. There's Bexar County Child Welfare Board that is consistently looking at this and saying, 'Great, the data's showing a decrease, but we know that the reality in the community isn't."

Family Violence and Prevention Service provides services for both women and men, perpetrators and victims. More information can be found on its website.

File: Final 2016 CHNA Report_20160823164207