Joshua Avila took his 6-month-old baby to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital after noticing “signs of changed behavior” and a possible “brain injury,” police said.
But what hospital workers found earlier this month was far more troubling.
The baby boy had three fractures in one leg and four in the other, a subdural hemorrhage and a retinal detachment, according to a report.
Avila, 30, and the baby’s mother, Sheyla Arauz, 28, were arrested and charged April 16 with child neglect with great bodily harm.
Both are out of jail on a $15,000 bond after appearing in court April 17, court records show. Their formal court appearance is scheduled for May 17.
Attorney Gabriel Hawa, who is representing Arauz and Avila, both of Miami, said his clients are “both loving parents.”
“They look forward to fighting allegations in court,” he said.
Hawa added the baby is in the hospital recovering from his injuries and the married couple’s 3-year-old son is in the care of his paternal grandfather.
According to police, Avila brought the baby to the hospital on April 10 at about 11 p.m.
“Upon medical examination of the child it was learned that the victim sustained extensive traumatic injuries indicative of possible child abuse,” an officer wrote in a report.
The child was then examined by a member of the University of Miami Child Protection Team, a group of pediatricians, nurses and other professionals tasked with assisting the Department of Children and Families with evaluating cases of suspected child abuse.
A spokeswoman for Nicklaus said Tuesday the hospital “complies with requirements established by Florida law regarding the reporting of confirmed or suspected child abuse/neglect.”
“We cannot comment on any confidential matters, including reports to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or law enforcement,” the hospital said in an email. “Reports to DCF, or the DCF Hotline, are confidential and protected. As advocates for children, our responsibility is to protect vulnerable patients/persons and to respect the confidential nature of investigations and evaluations of child abuse/neglect.”
DCF did not respond to a request for information Tuesday.
Police noted that both Avila and Arauz “were aware of the victim’s injuries when they occurred.”
“The defendant and the co-defendant failed to act and seek medical assistance for the victim, while knowing the victim was injured and in need of medical treatment,” an officer wrote.
Neither appeared to have a history of arrests, records showed.
After being read their rights, both parents declined to comment, according to the report.
To report suspected child abuse in Florida call 1-800-962-2873, Florida Relay 711 or TTY 1-800-955-8771. A report can also be filed online at https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us.