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Norwalk foster mom charged with child abuse and assault on 4-year-old

A foster mother is facing charges of child abuse and assault after a 4-year-old in her care suffered “grave injuries” in what an aunt of the boy describes as a case of torture and beating.

Gabriela Casarez of Norwalk, who was charged with two counts of child abuse and one count of assault leading to coma or paralysis, remains in Los Angeles County Jail and is being held on $1.2 million bail after she was arrested Oct. 29 by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Victims Unit detectives following the child’s hospitalization.

Casarez pleaded not guilty on Friday to the charges and is due back in court on Dec. 6. The boy remains in intensive care and is in critical condition.

Maria Jacinto, the boy’s aunt, said on Monday that the birth mother’s family is struggling to get information on what occurred.

“They don’t deserve this at all,” she said. “We’re are asking for justice and information.”

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The family was notified on Oct. 28 that the boy was hospitalized by an official with the Department of Children and Family Services.

Citing confidential rules governing children and family custody matters, DCFS officials said they were prohibited from disclosing details related to the foster mother.

The agency defended its examination and oversight of foster families.

“Licensure of resource families involves rigorously examining the suitability of potential families to identify safe, nurturing and supportive homes for children in foster care,” the DCFS said in a statement.

The agency said it “thoroughly investigates allegations of caretaker abuse and neglect and, when appropriate, works closely with law enforcement to ensure children remain safe and that substantiated allegations are swiftly addressed in a court of law.”

“Like every parent, you’re just horrified beyond belief,” said attorney Michael Adler, who represents the child’s extended family. “You don’t understand, one, how this happened, two, why this happened.”


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