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1-year-old who died was subject of prior DCF investigation

Staff
The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 03:56 PM

Jayden Sarria was barely more than a year old when he died of a fractured skull this week, but he already was no stranger to social service workers.

Jayden died Monday at St. Joseph’s Hospital after suffering severe brain damage, Tampa police said. His mother, Anjenette Lopez of Tampa, was arrested Thursday; her boyfriend, Viviano Pinto, was arrested Friday in Ohio, where he had fled after the boy was injured, police said.

Both are charged with aggravated manslaughter.

This isn’t the first time authorities have investigated Jayden’s care. Two months ago, child abuse investigators opened a case after someone reported the child had several burn marks on his body.

The investigation, which was opened on July 24 and closed on Aug. 27, was ruled as not substantiated, although investigators’ categorized his overall risk as "intermediate."

Investigators found burns on Jayden’s back, right wrist and right little toe. He had two bruises on his left ear, according to the Department of Children and Families’ investigative summary.

Lopez, 34, and Pinto, 35, who denied any physical punishment to Jayden, told investigators Jayden was taken to Florida Hospital at Carrollwood when the burns occurred in June. Lopez provided investigators with discharge instructions from the hospital, according to the investigative summary.

The couple told investigators Jayden was beginning to walk and was bumping into things. The burns on the wrist and toe were caused by a hot curling iron, they said, and the burn mark on his back came after Jayden bumped into an iron that had been set on a bed while Pinto was ironing his shirt.

Lopez and Pinto didn’t have an explanation for the bruises on Jayden’s ear, according to the investigative summary.

The investigative summary said Lopez was being "protective" and "meeting the needs" of her four children. They also noted she was receiving counseling from Success 4 Kids and Families.

The report also said Lopez admitted she smoked marijuana when the children weren’t present.

DCF officials said they are reviewing their agencies’ interactions with the family.

"We have provided multiple service interventions to this family and we continue to review the effectiveness of the services placed in the home most recently," DCF spokeswoman Terri Durdaller said in a prepared statement. "The best efforts of this department and our community partners which make up the child welfare system in Hillsborough County are no substitute for proper parental supervision."

Last year, DCF also investigated Lopez and Jorge Sarria, the father of three of her children, including Jayden.

Lopez and Sarria, who weren’t living together at the time, got into an argument in October 2011 that started in the home and then moved outside. Sarria told investigators he was angry because Lopez would sometimes drive with the children while she was under the influence of drugs, according to a DCF investigative summary.

The report, which was closed December 2011, concluded the allegations were "not substantiated for family violence and substance misuse."

The report noted also noted that there is "a history of family violence between the parents, the "family had prior history with the department" and the parents "have had two children removed (temporarily) in the past."

 

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