Neighbors Express Shock at Alleged Child Torture Case
SANTA MARIA - People living in the Santa Maria neighborhood of Pine and Cook Streets say they're stunned by the charges in this case.
23 year old Lorena Arenas is charged with torture, aggravated mayhem, child endangerment, false imprisonment and neglect.
It allegedly took place in an upstairs apartment at a building on the 400 block of South Pine Street.
Police say Arenas' two year old daughter suffered third degree burns on her hands and forearms after she was held under scalding hot tap water for five minutes as part of her punishment.
According to police, the little girl suffered from her burns for more than 12 hours before Arenas drove her to Marian Medical Center where police were told about the girl's injuries.
41 year old Jose Luis Gonzalez is accused of knowing about the little girl's injuries and failing to get medical care for the child.
The family lives directly across the street from City Fire Station Number 1.
The little girl has since undergone emergency surgery at the Sherman Oaks Burn Center where she remains in serious condition.
Neighbors we spoke with are shocked about what happened.
"That's terrible, that is really terrible", says neighbor Kimberly Yates, "that's a shame that parents can go to measures like that to discipline their kids."
"I guess we need to do something with the parents", adds neighbor Hector Ferrara, "I guess a little justice, or a big justice."
Hospitals are mandated to notify law enforcement when they suspect a patient is also a victim of a crime.
"They are an integral part of that team", says Cindy Nott of Child Welfare Services, "they can give us the information as to whether or not an injury could have been an accidental injury or was in fact the result of some type of abuse or neglect."
Bail for Lorena Arenas is $250,000 and $100,000 Jose Luis Gonzalez.
They are expected to be arraigned in Santa Maria court on Monday.
Another child belonging to Lorena Arenas has been placed in the care of Child Welfare Services.
If the little girl recovers from her burn injuries, CWS will look for a safe environment for both children to live either with relatives or foster parents.
If you know or suspect a child is a victim of abuse or neglect call Child Welfare Services toll free at (800)357-0166 or call 911.
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