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Tampa mom charged in 1-year-old son's death

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 03:46 PM

The mother of a 1-year-old boy who died earlier this week was arrested Thursday and charged with aggravated manslaughter.

Anjenette Lopez, 34, of 2103 Cool Springs Road, Tampa, failed to seek immediate medical attention for her son, Jayden Luis Sarria, which contributed to his suffering and death, Tampa police said. Lopez is being held without bail, according to Hillsborough County jail records.

Jayden suffered a severe skull fracture at about 6 p.m. on Sept. 20, but Lopez did not take the child to the hospital until a week later, police said.

Doctors determined Jayden had severe brain damage. He died in the hospital on Monday.

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday ruled the death a homicide due to blunt trauma to the head, police said.

Police said Lopez told investigators she thought her son had fallen in the bathtub.

A friend told investigators that when she saw Jayden on Sept. 21 – a day after the baby suffered the skull fracture – the injury seemed so severe the child resembled the "Elephant Man," police said.

Jayden has three siblings who have been removed from Lopez’s custody and placed in foster care, said Terry Field, a spokesman for the Department of Children and Families.

On her Facebook page, Lopez, a 1996 graduate of Plant High School, wrote about the pain of losing her son, the decision to donate his organs and planning for his funeral.

"I'm going through this right now like a bad dream a nightmare if u wanna put it any other way," Lopez wrote in a Tuesday post. "I loss my youngest of four happy crazy little babies, idk where to put my face but u all have been the strength n support I need my family n friends."

In July, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Child Protective Investigation Unit investigated a case involving Jayden. The case was closed and ruled not substantiated, meaning investigators couldn’t verify if the child had been abused, Field said. DCF has a contract with the sheriff’s office to investigate child abuse cases.

When Jayden was taken to the hospital on Sept. 27, the sheriff’s office opened another case, which remains under investigation, officials said.

DCF said it’s also in the middle of investigating the child’s death.

"The Department and its partners review every child death in the state," the agency said in a statement. "Our immediate focus is on making sure the other children in this family are safe and healthy and working with law enforcement to ensure that if anyone committed a crime they are punished to the fullest extent of the law."

José Calderon Sr., the paternal grandfather of Lopez’s oldest son, said he’s known Lopez for about 10 years.

"She’s been neglectful from day one – before the children," said Calderon, 51, of Brooksville. "That’s been the story of her life."

Calderon is working with his son, who is the father of Lopez’s oldest son, to gain custody of his son’s 8-year-old boy.

Calderon said he’s upset with DCF, saying investigators have taken her children in the past.

"Now it seems they have all the evidence they need – the child is dead," Calderon said. "If they did their job right, then we could save our children."


jpatino@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7659 Twitter: @jpatinoTrib