SAN ANTONIO – A child’s father and step-mother have been arrested in connection with the death of their 4-year-old son in August 2021, according to police.
Miranda Casarez was taken in by Jourdanton police, and Brandon Cervera turned himself in to SAPD on Thursday.
The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office says the child, Benjamin Cervera, died of starvation. Court documents say there’s a video taken by his parents showing the toddler being forced to drink hand sanitizer, then crying and waving his hands saying his mouth was burning.
Another video showed he was forced to eat crumbs off the bathroom floor.
A spokesperson for Child Protective Services says the agency had been in contact with the family. The toddler’s siblings are currently under their watch.
Child abuse prevention and education advocate and investigator Carrie Wilcoxson is highly critical of the state system. She says the community needs to put pressure on CPS to do better for children.
“What we need to do is we really need to improve the skills around triaging cases that don’t need to be in the system so that a state investigator has the time and the resources to go and spend and focus on cases like this,” she said.
She has been urging state and local lawmakers to get ahead of the child abuse problem calling for more funding toward education and prevention.
Wilcoxson says, “We are number one in the nation for increasing rates around child deaths.”
She strongly urges anyone who suspects a child is being abused to call 9-1-1 and report it to an agency that has the training and urgency to get to the child quicker and possibly save them.
Wilcoxson is calling on the hundreds of Bexar County area churches and religious organizations to speak up for children being abused.
“We really need our faith leaders to speak to this. Our families are starving for moral compassing,” Wilcoxson said.