LAS CRUCES, N.M. – A Las Cruces mother and father have pleaded not guilty to charges that they locked their toddler in a room for most of the day and barely fed him because he wet his pants.
Mario Gonzalez, 31, and Beatrice Garcia, 34, were arrested last week. They entered their pleas Friday after being formally arraigned on four counts of child abuse.
Magistrate Court records reveal the couple's three older children were concerned that their younger brother may be seriously injured or killed by Gonzalez.
Records state that the boy was having accidents wetting his pants and that Gonzalez allegedly would not allow the boy to drink much to keep him from wetting his pants.
Gonzalez is also accused of making the boy sleep on blankets on the floor so he would not wet the bed and he would let the boy out of the room in the morning for a small breakfast and again at night for a short time.
Gonzalez reportedly told police that he spanked the boy on the leg when he soiled his pants.
The toddler's siblings told police they saw the 2-year-old pushed, kicked and choked by Gonzalez, according to court records.
An investigator with the state Children, Youth and Families Department reported that after taking the toddler from the home, he spotted a water bottle and began grunting for the bottle. He drank it all and she gave him another, which he drank.
The boy and the other children have been placed in protective custody.
Gonzalez and Garcia remain jailed on bonds of $30,000.