Local couple accused of injuring toddler could face charges in 2 counties

SAN ANTONIO – A local couple accused of repeatedly causing serious injuries to a three-year-old boy could face charges in two different counties.

Justin Garcia, 25, and Brandy Laurel, 24, were arrested by Bexar County sheriff’s deputies Thursday night. Both are charged with injury to a child.

RELATED: ‘Very heartbreaking case’: Sheriff says woman, boyfriend arrested after child’s severe injuries lead to hospitalizations

An arrest affidavit says the victim in this case is Laurel’s three-year-old son. Garcia is Laurel’s boyfriend, according to the affidavit.

Sheriff Javier Salazar discussed details of the case with reporters after the suspects’ arrests, calling it an “infuriating and sad” case.

He said although the toddler had been treated for injuries at a San Antonio hospital last month, BCSO investigators didn’t become aware of the situation until May 3.

On that date earlier this month, the couple again brought the child to a hospital where staff members determined he had several serious injuries in various stages of healing.

“Hemorrhage, scalp swelling, bruising of the right temple, part of which resembled a footprint on the side of the child’s face,” he said.

Salazar said medical staff later found that swelling and bruising of the child’s brain was related to a skull fracture.

Staff at the hospital alerted Child Protective Services, which issued an order banning Laurel and Garcia from being with her son without supervision.

Salazar said the couple apparently violated that order earlier this week.

According to the affidavit, they showed up at a hospital in Dimmitt County May 21 seeking help for the boy who had suffered two broken legs.

The affidavit says doctors determined the type of injuries he had—two separate fractures to each leg—were common among wrestlers and are often tied to one particular wrestling move, called a “Boston crab.”

“That’s the only thing that they could think of that would cause enough torque and enough force to create two breaks in each leg,” Salazar said.

The child has undergone major surgery in San Antonion since then. Salazar said without that treatment, he most likely would never be able to walk again.

Mary Walker, a media specialist with the Department of Family and Protective Services, told KSAT 12 News that both the three-year-boy and a one-year-old child are now in CPS custody.

According to the affidavit, the couple was never able to offer investigators any viable explanation for how he was injured. At one point, Laurel told them he hurt himself, while other times she blamed another child for his injuries, the affidavit says.

Salazar told reporters a separate investigation is being conducted in Dimmitt County and could lead to additional charges there.

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