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Mother accused of starving 3 kids gets life term

By JEFF CARLTON Associated Press Writer The Associated Press
Friday, July 30, 2010 5:40 PM EDT

FILE -This July 20, 2009 file photo provided by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office… (AP Photo/Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, File)

DALLAS (AP) — A mother whose three children were found starving after being shut away in a hotel bathroom for as long as nine months was sentenced to life in prison Friday after changing her plea to guilty in the middle of her trial.

Abneris Santiago, 31, had faced between five years and life in prison on a felony charge of injury to a child.

Police rescued Santiago’s 11-year-old daughter and 10- and 5-year-old sons from a bathroom at an extended-stay hotel along one of Dallas’ busiest freeways in July 2009. The children, whose skeletons were visible beneath their flaky, stretched skin, were near death from chronic starvation. Authorities say the girl was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend.

Alfred Santiago was convicted Tuesday of injury to a child and continuous sexual abuse. He was sentenced to two 99-year sentences, to be served concurrently.

The former couple share a last name but never married.

Abneris Santiago’s plea on the third day of testimony came a day after she apologized to her daughter in a tearful courtroom reunion, saying she wasn’t strong enough to stop the abuse. The girl said she loved her mother and did not want her to go to prison.

Prosecutor Eren Price addressed the girl’s concern in her closing argument, asking the jury to sentence Santiago to life in prison.

“One day (the girl) will understand,” Price said, adding that she wanted the jury to let Santiago know that she was the “worst of the worst.”

The defendant apparently thought her guilty plea Friday would end the proceedings and was confused after testimony continued before the jury for purposes of sentencing.

“I think this is unnecessary since I already pleaded myself guilty,” Santiago told the judge. “I want it over with. This is pointless.”

Instead, prosecutors called to the stand the doctors who treated Santiago’s children last summer.

Dr. Susan Scott, an emergency room physician, said the girl “looked like a skeleton with skin.” A photograph pinned to the courtroom wall showed the girl’s bare back, her ribs and spine clearly defined.

Police look for mother accused of abducting son

Last Updated: Thursday, August 5, 2010 | 12:40 PM ET Comments8Recommend3

CBC News
Police are looking for Emilla Sardaru and her one-year-old son Robin Stanciu.Police are looking for Emilla Sardaru and her one-year-old son Robin Stanciu. (Toronto Police Service)Toronto police are looking for a 23-year-old woman who they allege abducted her son during a parental visit.

Emila Sardaru and her one-year-old son, Robin Stanciu, were last seen July 23 at around 10 p.m. near Dawes Road and Danforth Avenue.

Police are asking for the public’s assistance to find them.

They say Sardaru is of Romanian descent and speaks limited English.

She is described as white, about five feet and five inches tall. and about 165 pounds.

American mom charged with murdering 3 children


By BEN McCONVILLE, Associated Press Writer Ben Mcconville, Associated Press Writer Fri Aug 6, 5:47 pm ET

EDINBURGH, Scotland – Scottish police on Friday charged the American mother of three children who were found dead in an Edinburgh town house with their murder.

Theresa Riggi, 46, was arrested late Friday after police completed autopsies on her children: 8-year-old twins Augustino and Gianluca and their 5-year-old sister Cecilia.

The children were discovered after a gas explosion Wednesday at the town house, but are not thought to have died as a result of the blast. Riggi is hospitalized in serious but stable condition after apparently falling from an upper story of the house on the same day.

“Due to the medical condition of the accused, it is not at this time known when she will appear in court,” a police spokesman said on condition of anonymity in line with policy.

Riggi and her husband, American oil industry executive Pasquale Riggi, 46, of Colorado, were getting divorced and contesting the custody of their children.

Scottish authorities said the couple were due to attend court hearings in the case this week, and on Tuesday a judge raised concerns over the children’s safety when their mother failed to appear for the divorce proceedings.

Police said they are investigating the circumstances of the deaths and have interviewed the children’s father, but confirmed he is not a suspect in the case.

They said the autopsies on the children were completed Friday. No details were disclosed, but a report has been submitted to prosecutors, police said.

Pasquale Riggi described his anguish over the death of his children.

“Our family is struggling to come to terms with the immense and tragic loss of three beautiful children,” he said in a statement issued by Edinburgh’s Lothian and Borders police department.

His wife and the children went missing from the family’s home in Aberdeen, a port town about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Edinburgh, on July 21, prompting police to launch a search.

Pasquale Riggi grew up in Colorado, where he attended Denver’s Regis Jesuit High School, graduating in 1982. He serves as an executive with Royal Dutch Shell PLC in Scotland, and had previously worked with the company in the Netherlands.



Mother charged with child abuse

Son found wandering in neighborhood

Updated: Tuesday, 02 Mar 2010, 4:31 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 02 Mar 2010, 12:05 PM EST

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Suffolk mother faces child abuse charges after a neighbor found her 4-year-old son wandering around the neighborhood.

Jessica Cerise Monday, 24, of the 200 block of Teal Court was arrested Monday for an incident last month, in which her son was found last month wearing a t-shirt and shorts on Widgeon Court, in 40-degree weather, police say.

Police say this is the second time this has happened. Last September, the same child was found outside wearing just a diaper.

Cerise was not charged in that case. The child is now with a relative.

Robin Palafos, 24, Accused Of Starving Her Children

Paul Venema, KSAT 12 News Reporter
POSTED: Tuesday, March 2, 2010
UPDATED: 6:39 pm CST March 2, 2010
SAN ANTONIO — Her 4-year-old daughter weighed only 23 pounds according to hospital doctors, and her 8-year-old daughter stole food at school to keep her younger sibling alive, investigators concluded.

Those are among reports Child Protective Services investigators told Children’s Court Judge Charles Montemayor during a hearing in the case of 24-year-old Robin Palafos on Tuesday.Palafos and her common-law husband, 26-year-old Luis Valaenzuela, are facing injury to a child charges.Investigators said the couple allegedly only fed the children a bowl of cereal daily, while they ate full meals.According to hospital records the 4-year-old weighed only 23 pounds when she was admitted to the hospital two weeks ago. The normal weight for a child that age is about 40 pounds. A hairball and wood particles were found in the child’s stomach. Evidence, investigators testified, that the child ate her own hair and pieces of wood to stay alive.Palafos has voluntarily surrendered her parental rights. The children are in temporary state custody. Child Protective Services investigators said that the father’s rights will likely be terminated.Palafos was asked questions concerning the allegations by CPS lawyers during Tuesday’s hearing, but refused to answer, citing her Fifth Amendment protection concerning self incrimination.The couple remains jailed awaiting trial.

Accused Mother Surrenders Parental Rights

Robin Palafos, 24, Accused Of Starving Her Children

Paul Venema, KSAT 12 News Reporter
POSTED: Tuesday, March 2, 2010
UPDATED: 6:39 pm CST March 2, 2010
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MOTHER PLEADS GUILTY IN DEATH OF HER CHILD

Denver Daily News staff report

Thursday, January 14, 2010

MOTHER PLEADS GUILTY IN DEATH OF HER CHILD: A Denver woman has pleaded guilty in connection with the 2008 death of her 2-year-old son, Elijah Archuleta. Isela Reyes-Talamantes, 24, pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death and is facing from 10 to 32 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. On Nov.7, 2008, at about 11 p.m., Denver police responded to St. Anthony’s Central Hospital on a report of a child with severe burns. The child was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at the hospital. In exchange for her guilty plea, the first-degree murder charge against Reyes-Talamantes was dismissed. A co-defendant, John Vigil, is charged with first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death and is scheduled to appear later this year for a motions hearing.

MAN CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT: Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey has formally charged a man in connection with an assault and sexual assault that occurred on Jan. 9 on the 3100 block of W. Louisiana. Ben Depue, who turns 49 today, is charged with sexual assault and third-degree assault. On Jan. 9, the Denver Police Department responded to St. Anthony’s Central Hospital in reference to a sexual assault. The suspect is accused of physically and sexually assaulting the victim after the two spent time drinking together and she refused to willingly have sex with him.

ARREST IN LABEL TAMPERING CASE: Jason Eric Kay, 38, of Longmont, was arrested yesterday afternoon without incident on charges of misbranding and altering food labels with intent to cause serious injury to the business of any person, prosecutors said.  Kay is accused of re-labeling one-quart tropical-mango flavored Gatorade bottles with labels depicting a photograph of professional golfer Tiger Woods and his wife Elin Woods on one side, and the word “unfaithful” on the other side.  Kay was held overnight in custody.  He will likely make his initial appearance in court today.

GRADUATION RATE UP: Data released yesterday by the Colorado Department of Education showed the statewide graduation rate for the calss of 2009 increased .7 percentage points to 74.6 percent. The graduation rate stood at 73.9 percent in 2008, 75 percent in 2007, and 74.1 percent in 2006. The Denver graduation rate jumped by 4.1 percent this year.

SUSPECT MAKES COURT APPEARANCE IN AIRPLANE SCARE: Muhammad Abu Tahir, 47, of Virginia appeared this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya for his initial appearance. At that hearing, Tahir was advised of the charges pending against him, as well as the penalty for those charges. The charges are interference with a flight crew, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison, and not more than a $250,000 fine, plus possible restitution. Tahir was arrested because of his Jan. 8 behavior aboard an AirTran Airways Flight #39 that was traveling from Atlanta to San Francisco. The plane was diverted to Colorado Springs airport because of Tahir’s unruly behavior, including assaulting a flight crewmember.

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Sumter Mom Charged with Killing Her 3-Month-Old Baby

Sumter, SC (WLTX) – Sumter police have charged a mother, Rayshana Harvin, with homicide by child abuse in the death of her three-month old son.

Harvin, 20, is currently booked at the Sumter County Jail.

Police say that about 3:48 a.m. Monday, officers got a call that a child was not breathing at a home on Byrd Street. Emergency personnel found an infant child who was unresponsive.

The child was then taken to Tuomey Hospital, where doctors were able to regain a pulse. Doctors examined the baby, and an x-ray revealed that the child had a skull fracture, officers say. The child was then taken to Richland Memorial Hospital.

At the time of the incident, the child was being cared for by Harvin. Investigators say they questioned Harvin about her child’s injuries at the police station, and at that time, she implicated herself in the physical abuse.

She was initially charged with unlawful abuse/conduct toward a child, but those charges were upgraded after the child passed away just after 3 p.m.

Two other children at the home have been taken into emergency custody by the Department of Social Services.

The case remains under investigation. An official cause of death will be determined by the coroner’s office.

Tony Santaella 1/11/2010 5:30:05 PM

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