Madera woman faces trial in shaken baby case

September 27, 2013 3:10:27 PM PDT
A Madera woman will go to trial on child abuse charges. Doctors say 35-year-old Natividad Reyes' actions caused permanent blindness and a loss of hearing for a four-month-old boy.

The prosecution only called one witness to the stand Friday, but that was enough for the judge to determine there was enough evidence to take the case to trial. The court proceedings for Reyes have been somewhat of a challenge. The 35-year-old requires two translators, one to translate English to Spanish and another from Spanish to her native tongue of Zapotec, an indigenous language.

"A lot is lost in translation regarding the Zapateco language. So we're going to have to tackle that issue at trial," Defense Attorney Eric Castellon said.

Reyes is accused of violently shaking four-month-old Christopher Rios last year. Christopher's mother says she left her son under Reyes' care while she went to work. When she came home the baby was unresponsive. Doctors told her Christopher lost his sight and most of his hearing.

"Initially she told me she shook him because he had some frustration because he was crying. And after she said she shook him with all her strength, she said she was scared for him and that she was nervous," Detective Josh Chavez said.

The prosecutor pointed out various inconsistencies in the defendant's story from when she was first questioned. But the defense attorney argues Reyes did not fully understand what she was being asked when interrogated in Spanish.

"That language barrier is really preventing her from understanding what happened in that interview. I believe she didn't believe that was going on," Castellon said.

But the judge determined with the evidence presented in court there was enough to take the case to trial.

"I believe the judge made the right call that's there's more than enough evidence to hold Natividad Reyes over based upon probable cause determination," said Michael Keitz Madera County District Attorney.

If convicted Reyes could face up to nine years in prison.


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