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By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
BY RUTH BROWN Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
When a 5-year-old Bakersfield girl misbehaved, her father made her sit in a corner for up to four hours. When she couldn’t sit still, she was forced to exercise for as much as two hours at a time, doing squats and leg splits.
She was malnourished and weighed just 25 pounds. She was struck with a belt and tied to a bed. Redacted Bakersfield police reports made available Monday said she also suffered two brain bleeds, burns consistent with cigarettes, bruises, lacerations and, eventually, cardiac arrest inside the house at 210 Cedar St.
Early on the morning of Feb. 23 when emergency responders arrived at the home of Jesse Joe Brown, 31, and Virginia Susanna Rodriguez, 34, the girl was naked and unconscious, with an “extremely low” body temperature.
Brown, the girl’s father, told police she had just gotten out of the shower.
Medics intubated the child due to her low respiration, according to police reports.
The girl went into cardiac arrest on the way to Mercy Hospital and was put on life support before being transferred to Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera.
It was unclear to doctors, according to the reports, when the girl’s brain hematomas occurred, but one was older than the other.
The long-term binding of her hands and feet caused swelling, according to the reports.
Rodriguez told police the some of the girl’s injuries were self-inflicted. She said the girl had behaviorial problems such as picking at her skin, throwing herself to the ground head first, chewing her lips and rubbing feces on herself. She also claimed the child refused to eat and they had to force her.
Rodriguez said the girl did not respond to normal punishment such as spanking.
During a police interview, Brown admitted beating the girl with a belt and pushing her to the ground. He told police he did not take her to the doctor because he knew the child’s injuries were visible and was afraid of what might happen, according to the reports.
In one incident, Brown told police he pushed the girl to the ground and she hit her head but got up. When she got back up, Brown said she gave him “a disrespectful look” so he again pushed her, causing her to again hit her head.
Three other juveniles also lived in the home, and some of them reported they had been abused, too. All four children were removed from the home.
When interviewed, the other children acknowledged the abuse and some said they had also been tied or locked a closet. They said the 5-year-old did pick at herself and was abused to a greater extent than the other kids.
Doctors told police there were signs of sexual abuse found on the girl, but Brown was not charged with sex crimes.
He is charged with attempted murder, torture, two counts of willful cruelty of a child and two counts of inflicting injury upon a child.
Rodriguez, her stepmother, is charged with torture, two counts of willful cruelty of a child and two counts of inflicting injury upon a child.
Brown and Rodriguez’s next court appearances are both scheduled for March 10.