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    Man, woman charged with child endangerment after locking three children in cabinets with zip ties, arrest affidavit shows

    Eric Jesus Martinez also hit children with hand, belt and other plastic objects, police say

    The affidavit states Eric Jesus Martinez, 30, and Valerie Diaz, 34, locked up the children in cabinets with zip ties, sometimes several days at a time. (KSAT)

    SAN ANTONIO – A man and a woman are facing child endangerment charges after they tied and locked up three children in a cabinet, according to an arrest affidavit.

    The affidavit states Eric Jesus Martinez, 30, and Valerie Diaz, 34, locked up the children in cabinets with zip ties, sometimes several days at a time.

    On Dec. 21, police were called for a welfare check at an apartment in San Antonio. Diaz had called to report that her children were locked in cabinets for the past three days.

    When police arrived, they observed Martinez driving in the parking lot of the complex. He followed police instructions to park the truck and get out. The three children -- ages five, six, and 11 -- were also in the truck with Martinez.

    Police said Martinez had an active warrant and was taken into custody. Diaz was taken in for questioning.

    Diaz told police about an incident that happened three weeks prior. She had found the six-year-old boy with a cut on his head. The boy told her the cut came from “hitting his head on a door handle.”

    Martinez told Diaz it was an accident. He had slapped the boy, causing him to fall backward and hit his head, police said.

    Diaz said the boy appeared dazed and was crying, according to police. She was concerned that if he fell asleep, he might not wake up. Officers said they asked why she didn’t seek medical attention, to which she stated that she was afraid the boy would be taken away.

    The boy told police he was slapped multiple times by Martinez and pushed, according to the affidavit.

    Diaz said Martinez would hit the children with his hand, belt, and other plastic objects on multiple occasions. Officers said he would also put the children in kitchen cabinets and lock them using screws.

    Diaz admitted to putting them in the cabinet one time but did not lock them inside. Instead, Martinez locked the cabinet, Diaz said.

    Police said the children were locked in the cabinet sometimes for days without being fed. They were only let out sometimes to use the bathroom.

    Officers observed the apartment and found little to no food inside. They also said they found three cabinets with holes to attach the screws.

    Police said they also found zip ties on the floor and drawings inside the cabinets.

    Martinez is facing three counts of child endangerment and three counts of unlawful restraint. Diaz is facing child endangerment charges as well.


    About the Author:

    Emily Martin is a digital producer trainee at KSAT. She earned a journalism degree from Texas State University, where she was news director at KTSW, the campus radio station. She has also interned at KXAN and KUT in Austin.