A toddler who died of brain injuries the day before Thanksgiving 2016 previously had inscriptions in ink on his stomach and forehead.
The victim, 18-month-old Ares Baroz, died in a New Mexico hospital on Nov. 23, 2016, reports the Daily Mail. He had fractures of the skull, legs and shoulder, in addition to brain bleeding and bruising of both ears.
His mother, Miranda Rabago, 27, was arrested and indicted for child abuse resulting in death. Assistant District Attorney Susan Stinson said additional charges could be forthcoming, pending the results of the autopsy report.
The strange writings on the infant’s body were revealed by Stinson, reports The Washington Post. She said photos on the mother’s cell phone revealed that a black marker was used to write “thug life” across the stomach, and the word “loco” was written to resemble a tattoo on the forehead.
It is not known when the photos were taken, nor if the words were still present when Ares was taken to the hospital.
The prosecutor has asserted that the photos are evidence of how the child was treated at home. Rabago’s attorney, however, contends that it is too early to draw any conclusions.
“It’s difficult to look at something like that and think the worst about that kind of picture, especially in the context of what we know so far,” said Rabago’s public defender, Stephen Taylor. “I just want to caution everybody into thinking that there’s something to that evidence, when we haven’t gotten everything yet to see the whole picture, the whole story about what led to Ares’s death.”
Authorities believe that the child’s injuries were sustained over a period of time. He was found to be malnourished when examined by hospital staff, who suspected abuse and summoned police.
Rabago denied harming her son and told authorities that he seemed fine until she discovered him unconscious and unresponsive two days before his death. Investigators who searched Rabago’s apartment found a sippy cup with rotten milk in his crib, along with a blood-stained pillow.
On Jan. 13, Rabago pleaded not guilty in Santa Fe District Court. If convicted, she faces up to $20,000 in fines and up to 21 years in prison, Stinson said.
Sources: Daily Mail, The Washington Post / Photo credit: Santa Fe County Jail via Daily Mail