Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Otty Sanchez Dismembered 3 1/2 Week-old Baby

The warning signs were there. Otty Sanchez, a schizophrenic with a history of hospitalizations, wasn't taking medication and was depressed after her son's birth, the boy's father said. A simple request seemed to set her off, alarming him and his family.

Yet, the 33-year-old woman was staying in a house where she had access to samurai swords. Child welfare officials were never called.

Instead, Sanchez's troubles became apparent to authorities when they found her before dawn Sunday screaming that she had killed her baby. Her 3 1/2-week-old son was dismembered in a scene so gruesome that police were left shaken.

"Maybe we missed" warning signs, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said. "I don't know."

Sanchez remained hospitalized Tuesday recovering from self-inflicted cuts to her torso and an attempt to slice her own throat. The former home health care worker is charged with capital murder and is being held on $1 million bond. Calls to relatives Tuesday were not immediately returned and it was not clear whether Sanchez had an attorney.

Authorities said Sanchez tried killing herself after butchering her newborn son, Scott Wesley Buchholz-Sanchez, with a steak knife and two swords while her sister and two nieces, ages 5 and 7, slept in another room.

Sanchez told police — who described a scene so horrifying that investigators could barely speak to one another — that the devil made her kill, mutilate and eat parts of her only child.

Scott W. Buchholz, the infant's father who met Sanchez six years ago while they were studying to be pharmacists assistants, said he isn't buying it. He said although his girlfriend had postpartum depression and told him a week before the killing that she was schizophrenic, she didn't appear unstable.

He wants prosecutors to pursue the death penalty.

"She killed my son. She should burn in hell," Buchholz, 33, told The Associated Press.

Otty Sanchez's medical history is muddled. A family member said Sanchez had been undergoing psychiatric treatment and that a hospital called looking for her several months ago. Gloria Sanchez, Otty's aunt, said her niece had been "in and out of a psychiatric ward."

In May 2008, Otty Sanchez's mother, Manuela Sanchez, called police after her daughter didn't return from a trip to Austin, saying she was concerned about her daughter's safety. Manuela Sanchez told police she suspected Otty was into drugs and specifically told police she wasn't suffering from any mental issues.

Buchholz, who is himself schizophrenic and takes six anti-psychotic and anti-convulsive medications, said Otty had postpartum depression and had been going to regular counseling sessions after the birth, but refused to take prescription medication for her depression. Still, he said she seemed fine.

"She seemed like a a very caring, loving mother. She held him, she breast fed him. She did everything for him that was nice," he said.

On July 20, Sanchez was taken to the hospital for depression and released less than a day later, Buchholz said. Sanchez told him that she was schizophrenic and was going to live with her parents and sister. Sanchez was arrested at her mother's house, where police found her and the dead infant.

Five days later, on Saturday, Sanchez brought "Baby Scotty" for a visit but stormed out after he asked for a copy of the birth certificate and other documents, Buchholz said. Buchholz called 911 to report that Sanchez stormed out and drove away with the infant without properly restraining him in the car, and deputies investigated it as a disturbance.

The deputy took a report but could do little else, said Bexar County Sheriff Chief Deputy Dale Bennett.

"If this guy had given us an indication that she had postpartum depression, or mental defects she was suffering from, we may have addressed it differently," he said.

Buchholz said he may have told the deputy Sanchez was depressed, but that he wasn't sure.

While schizophrenia generally develops in men in their late teens and early 20s, women tend to develop the illness, marked by abnormal impressions of reality, later in life.

Most new mothers suffer from postpartum blues as hormones shift after a pregnancy and they're fatigued handling a new baby. But as many as one-fifth suffer from the more serious postpartum depression, which includes symptoms like despair and failing to eat or sleep.

Postpartum psychosis is far rarer, affecting only about one woman in 1,000. Women with postpartum psychosis have delusions, frequently involving religious symbols and a desire to harm their newborn, said Richard Pesikoff, a psychiatry professor at the Baylor College of Medicine.

He testified in the second trial of Andrea Yates, the high-profile case of a Houston-area mother found not guilty by reason of insanity after drowning her five children. Similar to Sanchez's claim that the devil told her to kill her son, Yates told authorities Satan was inside of her and she was trying to save her children.

"The most common part of postpartum psychosis is the delusional thinking," said Pesikoff. "Often but not always, it encompasses some type of religious thought. God is telling you to do something. The devil is telling you to do something."

Women with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are at particularly high risk for developing postpartum psychosis.

For women with schizophrenia who are not taking medication, the risk of developing psychosis is 50 percent or higher, said Lucy Puryear, another psychiatrist who was involved in the Yates case.

If a mother is diagnosed with psychosis, she should immediately be hospitalized and separated from the child, Puryear said.

Some psychiatrists will tell women with schizophrenia not to have children because of the high risks, but she said with medication and treatment, "it's possible to have a child and have a good outcome."

While Sanchez could face trial, other similar cases — including that of Yates and Dena Schlosser, a Plano woman who said she sliced off her baby's arms because she wanted to give the baby to God — have ended with juries finding the women not guilty by reason of insanity.

Emperatriz Meza-Reyna Arrested for Child Abuse

A 7-year-old girl is in a coma with critical head injuries just months after state foster care workers returned her to her mother, who was convicted last year of child abuse.

Now the 21-year-old mother is once again in jail on suspicion of beating the child, who may not survive.

Emperatriz Meza-Reyna took her daughter to Pioneer Valley Hospital on July 22 with a head injury, bruises on her body and a bite mark, West Valley City police Capt. Tom McLachlan said.

During the examination, the girl went into cardiac arrest and was flown to Primary Children's Medical Center. There, she underwent brain surgery and remains in a coma in critical condition.

Meza-Reyna told police her daughter fell down stairs, but doctors say her injuries are not consistent with a fall.

McLachlan said the girl's injuries appear to be caused by being hit with a hard object or slammed into a floor, wall or another hard surface.

Meza-Reyna has two other children who don't appear to have been abused, police said. But the mother was arrested in January 2008 on suspicion of child abuse involving the same child. She pleaded guilty to two charges of third-degree felony child abuse.

According to those charges, Meza-Reyna admitted to strangling the child and covering her mouth and nose multiple times, beating her with a belt and a cable cord and writing on the child with a black marker, injuring the child's face. A doctor in that case said the child had bruises and marks all over her body. The doctor also said there was evidence of a head injury, including soft-tissue swelling and bleeding on the brain.

Meza-Reyna was sentenced in January; all prison time was suspended. She served 17 days in jail and was given 36 months of probation.

McLachlan said the Division of Child and Family Services had custody of the girl for a period of time before she was returned to her mother several months ago.

Meza-Reyna has an immigration detainer against her, which means she will be deported once the case ends and she is released to federal authorities.

DCFS spokeswoman Liz Sollis would not comment on the case. She said DCFS in general usually works with other health, school and law enforcement professionals to determine the best interest of the child involved in an abusive situation. The parent, if they have been convicted of child abuse, is usually required to complete court imposed programs and classes before a judge determines when the child may return home.

McLachlan said Meza-Reyna and her children recently lived with another adult, but their relationship is unknown. He said the man is not a suspect in the new case.

Meza-Reyna was booked into the Salt Lake County jail Thursday on suspicion of child abuse. She is being held on $50,000 bail.

Joseph Lee Arrested for Dunking 7-year-old in Sink Full of Water

Huntsville police arrested a man Friday accused of picking up a 7-year-old boy by the ankles and dunking him, upside down, in a sink full of water.

Joseph A. Lee, a 61-year-old professor at Alabama A&M University, was arrested and charged with one count of torture and willful abuse of a child under the age of 18, said police spokesman Sgt. Mark Roberts.

Roberts said officers were called to 223 Salem Drive in Huntsville at 1:40 p.m. Friday. A 14-year-old witness told officers that Lee picked the boy up by the ankles, dunked his head in the sink and dropped him on the ground, Roberts said.

The police incident report did not detail the events leading to the alleged abuse.

Lee, a graduate of Tuskegee University, teaches community planning and urban studies at Alabama A&M, according to university spokesman Jerome Saintjones. Lee also is president of A&M's Community Development Corp., an agency that works to revitalize neighborhoods near the campus. The address listed on the police report - Salem Drive - is in the Edmonton Heights neighborhood and a block away from the southern edge of the campus.

Saintjones and President Andrew Hugine declined to comment on Lee's arrest. It's unclear if the university has taken any administrative action against Lee.

Torture and willful abuse of a child is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Reports of Child Abuse on the Rise in Arkansas

In recent weeks, several alarming reports about child sexual abuse have been made. In one case, a Sebastian County man was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a young relative. Police said the abuse had been happening for years.

Every week, local Crimes Against Children investigators receive dozens of reports of sexual abuse involving children.

“I cover seven counties, and we average 50-70 reports a month,” said Teri Ward, a supervisor with the Crimes Against Children Division of the Arkansas State Police.

Ward said that investigators see busier months than others and reports tend to go down during the summer because school is not in session. There are mandated reporters of child abuse, including teachers, counselorrs, therapists and police. When school is not in session, children may not have a chance to report abuse to a school employee.

“When the economy hits a low, that can increase child abuse,” said Abra Lang, a Child Advocate with the Children’s Safety Center in Springdale. The Children’s Safety Center is a place where recovery starts for children of abuse. Unfortunately, advocates there also stay very busy year round. Since January more than 300 children have received help at the center.

Lang said she can't attribute the increase in reported abuse to the economy or to other factors, but does believe people are reporting abuse more often.

“I think there’s more awareness about sexual abuse and there’s been a lot of education,” said Lang.

Experts also said that the number of reported cases is alarming, but they believe that there are countless other cases that are never reported.
Related Stories:
July 28, 2009: Man Accused Of Assaulting Young Relative
July 22, 2009: Man Accused Of Sexually Abusing Relative For Years
July 15, 2009: Man Pleads Not Guilty To Raping Child
July 14, 2009: Man Arrested On Sexual Assault Charges
July 10, 2009: Sebastian Co. Man Accused Of Raping 1-Year-Old
July 2, 2009: Springdale Man Arrested In Child Porn Case
June 24, 2009: Study: Missing Kids Posters Rarely Work

Jennifer Gonzalez Arrested for Child Abuse

A Vero Beach woman hit a 4-year-old child in the face with a belt because the child was being bad, the Indian River County Sheriff's Office said.

Jennifer Gonzalez, 26, was arrested Monday on one count of child abuse.

According to an arrest affidavit, the child told deputies, "I got whooped." When asked why, the child said because he or she was being bad and stomping his or her feet.

Gonzalez is also accused of hitting the child across the shoulder and thighs. Deputies said they noticed bruising on the child in all three locations.

An adult who was home during the incident told deputies he saw Gonzalez grab a belt from the bedroom and heard the child getting spanked, but he did not see it happen. He told deputies Gonzalez asked him to say the child slipped on the kitchen floor and fell on a mop.

According to the affidavit, Gonzalez initially told deputies the child slipped on the kitchen floor and got bruised, but when confronted, she admitted to hitting the child with the belt.

David Prongay Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault

An Edison man admitted today that he sexually assaulted a member of the lacrosse team he coached and endangered the welfare of another girl he coached in softball in 2002.

David Prongay, 44, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in October.

Prongay told Superior Court Judge Frederick De Vesa in New Brunswick that he sexually assaulted a child between the ages of 13 and 16 between April 1, 2008, and Feb. 1, 2009.

Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christi Bevacqua said Prongay assaulted the victim "multiple times."

Prongay admitted he "kissed" the second victim, who was 15 in 2002 when the incident occurred. Under questioning from the judge, Prongay admitted the kiss was for his own sexual gratification.

For five seasons, Prongay, a general contractor, was a volunteer coach for the Edison Lightning, a lacrosse team for seventh- and eighth-graders. He also had coached the Edison Angels, a recreational softball team, in 2002.

"We think it was a fair resolution that was struck to spare the victims from any more court proceedings," Bevacqua said after the plea hearing. "The victims are very pleased that this was done. This was a huge betrayal of trust for both victims and this (proceeding) is closure."

Several members of the victims' families were in court for the hearing and became emotional as Prongay spoke.

Prongay was arrested Feb. 18 and charged with aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the lacrosse team victim. He was free on $250,000 bail on Feb. 24 when he was arrested and charged with attempted aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the member of the softball team.

He had faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Prongay pleaded guilty to an accusation. His case had not yet been presented to a grand jury.

In return for his guilty plea, the state agreed to dismiss the more serious aggravated sexual assault charge, along with all but one of the child endangerment charges.

The agreement calls for the state to recommend Prongay receive up to 10 years in prison for the sexual assault and four years for the child endangerment, with the two sentences to run at the same time.

De Vesa said Prongay could be ordered to serve up to one third of his sentence before he becomes eligible for parole.

The judge scheduled sentencing for Oct. 13, but that will depend on when the court receives the report from the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel on whether Prongay is a repetitive or compulsive sex offender.

James Pat Wheat Arrested for Sexual Assault on 4-year-old

A 60-year-old Gatesville man is charged with the sexual assault of a child after police say the 4-year-old alleged victim made an outcry to her mom.

Gatesville Police tell News Channel 25 the alleged crime happened last week at a residence in Gatesville where the child had been taken for daycare.

The girl made an outcry to her mother who took the child to a medical facility where medical staff determined that a sexual assault had occurred.

After an investigation, Gatesville Police arrested James Pat Wheat. He remains in the Coryell County jail in lieu of $35,000 bond.

Barry Eugene Burrous Arrested for Sexual Assault

Barry Eugene Burrous, 33, was arrested Monday by members of the Fremont County combined investigative response team.

Burrous has been charged with two counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, victim less than 15 years of age, a class-3 felony.

Burrous has been charged with having unlawful sexual contact with two juveniles whose ages are currently 16 and 13.

His arrest is the culmination of a series of allegations dating back to December of 2004.

Burrous is currently being held at the Fremont County Detention Center on a $60,000 cash only bond.

Information provided the Canon City Police Department.

University Student Arrested for Sexual Assault on 13-year-old

A 20-year-old Central Washington University student has been arrested for the alleged sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl he met when she was attending a music camp where he was an instructor, Ellensburg police said Tuesday.

The suspect was arrested Monday in his hometown of Bothell, Wash., and was transported to Ellensburg. He was booked into the Kittitas County jail on two counts each of second-degree child rape, second-degree child molestation and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, according to a news release from Ellensburg police Capt. Mike Coppin.

The victim was staying with her aunt in Ellensburg while attending the music camp, which was July 3-12 at Central, Coppin said. The alleged sexual abuse occurred last week, he said.

Ellensburg police are investigating whether there may be other victims. Anyone with concerns or information should contact the police department at 509-962-7280.

Eduardo Torres-Franco Wanted for Molesting 3-year-old

Eduardo Torres-Franco faced six to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty earlier this month to molesting a 3-year-old girl.

But instead of appearing in a Rolling Meadows courtroom for sentencing Tuesday, the 39-year-old Palatine man skipped the hearing and likely the country.

"I can only assume he's in Mexico," Torres-Franco's private attorney, Steven Goldman, said afterward.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Fecarotta issued a no-bail warrant for Torres-Franco's arrest and set a judgment date for Sept. 1, at which time bond he could be indicted on a bail jumping charge. Torres-Franco, of the 1700 block of Rose Street in Palatine, wasn't in custody because he previously posted 10 percent of his $100,000 bond.

On July 14, Torres-Franco pleaded guilty of criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse for crimes that took place between 1999 and 2001. Prospect Heights police said he admitted to molesting the 3-year-old daughter of a woman he dated at the time. The abuse occurred when Torres-Franco baby-sat the child, prosecutors said.

The victim came forward in February with claims of the abuse.

Goldman said he last spoke with Torres-Franco, who he said was in the U.S. illegally, during the guilty plea. He said he wasn't surprised his client fled.

"I didn't expect him here," Goldman said.

Wayne Bucklein Arrested for Sexual Assault

After an investigation, A Chubbuck man, already in the Bannock County Jail, will have more charges added to his wrap sheet.

45-year-old Wayne Bucklein was arrested over the weekend for allegedly touching a child inappropriately in the grand stands of the Bannock County Fairgrounds during the POW*MIA rally. The Bannock County Sheriff's office says after an investigation they found Bucklein also allegedly had sexual contact with a vulnerable female at the same place during the 4th of July celebration. Bucklein is in the bannock county jail being held without bond.

Brad Rocklin Montgomery Sentenced to Life for Sexual Assault

A Fallon man accused of sexual assault and unlawful use of a minor to produce pornography and lewdness with children will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Brad Rocklin Montgomery, 54, showed little emotion on Tuesday as Judge Will Rogers imposed the sentences that will run consecutively.

Montgomery had pleaded guilty to 10 charges of lewdness with a child under the age of 14, five counts of unlawful use of a minor less than 14 years of age in producing pornography or as a subject of sex portrayal in performance and one charge of sexual assault on a child under the age of 14.

Of the 10 charges of lewdness with a child under the age of 14, Montgomery was sentenced four to 10 years in prison on six of them and life in prison with a possibility of parole after 10 years on the other four charges.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Lane Mills mentioned the different sentence ranges were the result of when the crimes were committed. The Nevada Legislature changed the sentence ranges in 1996-97 for this crime.

On the charges of producing pornography or as a subject of sex portrayal in performance, Montgomery received life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years on each count, and on the sexual assault on a child under the age of 14, he was sent to prison for life with the possibility of parole after 35 years.

Montgomery's sister, Connie Barrier said her brother came from “good stock” with high Christian principles.

She told the court Montgomery has potential and asked for leniency.

“He has never been in trouble with the law before,” she said. “He is a good person.”

Mills attacked Barrier's claim that her brother came from good stock, and he asked if she was aware Montgomery said he was molested as a child from their father.

After she said she was not aware of it, Mills asked her if she believed her brother was a “liar.” She said she did not think so.

Mills said the case arose after a child had the courage to report what allegedly had been happening to him. When Montgomery was arrested in New Mexico, Mills said he had a hard drive computer drive with “vile, reprehensible material.”

“You only have to look at this for a second,” Mills said of the material seized from the defendant.

In 1996 and 1997 Montgomery was accused of video taping children as they exited school buses. Also recovered was a photo of a simulated sexual act with a stuffed pig and videos, including one titled “Toy.”

“When you look at this, this man deserves every consecutive (life) sentence allowed by law,” Mills said. “This is a signal to send to the world at large. He was one click away from sending this material to other perverts in the world.

He also said a photo was recovered of a boy wearing a baseball uniform which was the same team Montgomery coached in the Fallon Youth Baseball league years ago.

“This is a man with absolutely no remorse and blames the child,” Mills added. “He is evil. The message is pedophiles and perverts like Montgomery cannot do this to children. Throw the book at Mr. Montgomery.”

Public Defender Chet Kafchinski said he does not know if his client ever had a chance to succeed in life.

“He's never had been given the opportunity to grow as an adult,” he said.

Montgomery said he has looked back and researched his life to determine why he had these problems and committed certain acts.

Rogers said the court finds this to be one of the most serious cases because perpetrators like Montgomery are dooming children.

“I don't believe that as a society we can look away from that,” he said. “At this juncture sir, your life or whatever is left of it, will be spent in the department of corrections. I don't care about you. I do care about the people in the community.”

Bus Driver Anthony James Leffler Accused of Molesting Boy on Bus

A Port Authority bus driver accused of molesting a boy on his empty bus July 3 on Freeport Road will stand trial.

Anthony James Leffler, 52, of the Morningside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, faces misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child and corruption of minors.

On Monday, prosecutors without comment dropped an unlawful restraint charge, a felony, against Leffler.

Leffler's attorney, Anthony Foglia, insisted yesterday that the remaining charges are a mistake because he says nothing improper happened.

In an affidavit, investigators said a Port Authority surveillance camera captured the incident.

Leffler's attorney said a judge and jury will treat the case differently when they see the tape.

"There is no illegal sexual conduct at all. There was no crime," Foglia said outside the courtroom.

Leffler "doesn't know what he did wrong," Foglia said.

An assistant district attorney declined comment yesterday.

The Valley News Dispatch does not identify people purported to be the victim of sexual assault.

The charges were held for court by District Judge David Sosovicka of Harmar.

Leffler is scheduled to be formally charged Oct. 1 in Allegheny County Court in Pittsburgh.