Visalia mother facing felony child abuse charges

FRESNO, Calif.

In an orange jumpsuit, 19-year-old Jessica Castillo pleaded "not guilty" to felony child abuse charges, after doctors discovered more than a dozen fractures on her infant's body.

Sgt. Ozzie Dominguez said, "Scans were administered and tests were run and we were sure that we had some fractures to the child's body that were consistent with physical abuse."

Police were first called to Kaweah Delta's urgent care facility in Visalia -- after doctors caring for the child suspected the crimes. The 2-month-old baby girl was eventually transported to a nearby children's hospital.

After an interview with the 19-year-old mother, detectives are confident Castillo physically abused her own baby, at the apartment they lived in on west Murray Avenue. The baby is still in the hospital and is expected to survive her injuries.

Sgt. Ozzie Dominguez added, "Tests are still being run and we're hoping that we've already uncovered the full extent of the injuries done to the child."

Investigators are now determining whether the baby's multiple fractures stem from one isolated incident, or a pattern of abuse.

Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward added, "At this point the one charge that we filed has a range from March 11th of 2014 to March 31st of 2014."

Jessica Castillo faces one felony count of child abuse, with a special allegation that she caused great bodily injury to a child under the age of five.

Castillo will be back in court next week. If convicted of all the charges she faces a maximum of 12 years in prison.

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