NJ couple accused of torturing toddler daughter almost to death
GALLOWAY — A South Jersey couple is facing criminal charges after a doctor diagnosed their 2-year-old daughter as a victim of "torture."
Yolanda Torres, 33, and Jose Velez, 52, were arrested Friday more than a month after their daughter was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
Torres attributed her daughter's injuries to a series of "accidents," but the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office says Torres assaulted her daughter and she and her husband did nothing to help her until the toddler began experiencing seizures.
Doctors at Cooper University Hospital found the toddler with multiple broken bones, bleeding in her brain and deep burns on her hands and feet.
Investigators later found that before her hospitalization, the child had been losing weight, losing her hair and that she "otherwise displayed a failure to thrive."
A doctor concluded that the "combined medical traumas and psychological traumas raise the girl's diagnosis to the level of torture," prosecutors said Friday.
The mother is charged with second-degree aggravated assault and two counts of second-degree child endangerment. The father is charged with two counts of child endangerment and possession of Xanax pills with the intent to distribute.
Prosecutors say the girl has been out of her parents' custody since she was hospitalized in July.
New Jersey 101.5 did not know Saturday whether either Torres or Velez had an attorney who could speak on their behalf.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5.
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