A Maryland mother says it was through Facebook that she first learned her 4-year-old daughter had been badly injured — the result of alleged child abuse.
Ana Barrett told WTTG News recently that she has custody of her three other children, but her 4-year-old daughter, Dalilah, lives with the girl’s father.
“I woke up Saturday morning to my news feed on Facebook and saw her father's girlfriend's face,” Barrett told WTTG. “I just panicked and I freaked out, started screaming and crying.”
It was the face of 30-year-old Aldercy Lugo-De Fuentes of Silver Springs. She is Dalilah's stepmother.
She had been arrested Sept. 2 and charged with one count of first-degree child abuse, one count of second-degree child abuse, and two counts of assault, WUSA News reported.
Those charges came after Dalilah was taken to Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C. on Aug. 26.
Police said Lugo-De Fuentes later told them the girl had become “woozy, vomited and lost consciousness” earlier that day.
Doctors reportedly found that the girl had bruises on her face, head, chest, and back that were in various stages of healing.
According to a medical report obtained by WUSA, Dalilah had also sustained a severe injury to her liver that caused significant internal bleeding. Police also said she had fractured ribs, a fractured pelvis and a sacral fracture.
Investigators told WUSA that Lugo-De Fuentes had given conflicting statements about how the girl was injured.
A sibling of Dalilah’s, who said she was home at the time the injuries happened, reportedly told police she had heard her sister being hit with what she thought was a belt.
Lugo-De Fuentes did reportedly admit to police that she had hit Dalilah with a belt before, as well as once with a shoe. She also admitted to other forms of abuse, such as pushing the girl into walls and into an elliptical machine, as well as slapping her face, smacking her ears, and squeezing her arms.
Barrett told WTTG that she had not seen her daughter much since the girl’s father started dating Lugo-De Fuentes.
“I guess once he met her and she came into the picture, my visits with my daughter ceased to exist,” she said. “She lost a lot of weight and no child should drop weight that quick. And it’s insane. I asked them why did she lose weight so quickly and they said they changed her diet.”
Barrett added that she hasn’t seen Dalilah since December.
She told WTTG she has spoken with child services officials who tell her that Dalilah is doing better, is out of the hospital, and is now in their custody.
Lugo-De Fuentes remains in custody at the Montgomery County Detention Center and is being held on $250,000 bond, according to the jail’s website.
It is unclear from reports why Barrett does not have custody of Dalilah.
Photo credit: Montgomery County Police via WUSA News