‘Very heartbreaking’: Sheriff says woman, boyfriend arrested after child’s severe injuries, hospitalizations

3-year-old remains hospitalized, possibly sedated

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County sheriff’s deputies arrested a woman and her boyfriend accused of being involved in the severe injury of a 3-year-old child, leading to several hospital visits, according to Sheriff Javier Salazar.

“This case is infuriating and sad,” the sheriff said as he briefed the news media Thursday evening.

The sheriff said ChildSafe investigators were notified after the child was taken to Methodist Children’s Hospital on May 3. He had injuries to his face, head, and legs -- all in different stages of healing, a possible indicator of abuse, Salazar said.

The boy had been taken to the hospital on April 22, but hospital workers hadn’t called authorities since abuse had not been suspected then, according to the sheriff.

Child Protective Services implemented a safety plan and placed the child in the custody of family members with allowed supervised visits from the child’s mother, 24-year-old Brandy Laurel, and her boyfriend, 25-year-old Justin Garcia, after the May 3 hospital visit, Salazar said.

The child was then taken from the other family members’ home by the mother and boyfriend to a hospital in Dimmit County on May 21, violating the CPS safety plan, Salazar said.

Hospital workers told authorities the child was unable to walk and discovered the child had two fractures on each of his legs to the femur, tibia and fibula. He also had a skull fracture with internal bleeding, according to Salazar.

Laurel and Garcia told hospital employees the child was throwing a tantrum and had injured himself.

Medical personnel told officials the injuries to the child were similar to what wrestlers experience.

The child had to be taken to a hospital in San Antonio, where he underwent extensive surgery, Salazar said.

Had the child not undergone surgery, he would have been in excruciating pain and may have lost some function in his legs, according to the sheriff.

It’s still unclear how the injuries occurred.

Salazar said the child’s road to recovery would be long, and the boy remains hospitalized and is possibly sedated.

Laurel and Garcia were arrested on Thursday, and they each face a charge of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury - reckless.

Salazar said the pair may face additional charges in Dimmit County.

BCSO is working with Dimmit County and the Texas Rangers to determine if the couple will need to be extradited for more possible charges.

KSAT will update you with the latest information as it becomes available.

About the Authors

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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