SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — A San Antonio couple was indicted this week on child endangerment charges after three children were reportedly zip tied and locked in a cabinet.
34-year-old Valerie Diaz, the biological mother of the three children, and her boyfriend 30-year-old Eric Jesus Martinez were charged Friday.
Officials said Diaz and Martinez locked the three children — ages 5, 6, and 11 — in the cabinets in multiple incidents and sometimes for days at a time.
Police were called on Dec. 21 to conduct a welfare check after Diaz reportedly called to say her children were locked in cabinets for the last tree days, according to KSAT.
When police arrived, they reported Martinez was driving in the parking lot of the apartment complex and discovered the three children were in a truck.
Martinez reportedly had an active warrant out for his arrest at the time and was taken into custody. Diaz was also taken into custody for questioning.
Officials said that Diaz told investigators about an incident three weeks before where the mother found the six-year-old boy with a cut on his head. The child told her he hit his head on a door handle.
Diaz told police that when she confronted her boyfriend, Martinez told her it was an accident. Martinez reportedly slapped the boy which caused him to fall backwards and hit his head.
The mother said the child was dazed and crying and was concerned about a possible concussion, but she ultimately never sough medical attention. When asked why she decided to forgo medical care, Diaz told police she was afraid he’d be taken from her custody.
The child told police he had been slapped and multiple times by Martinez. Police said Diaz admitted that her boyfriend would had a history of hitting the children with his hand, belt and plastic objects.
The children told police they were locked in cabinets, sometimes for days without food or drink, and were occasionally let out to use the restroom. Diaz admitted to police they put them in the cabinet one time, but laid the blame for locking the cabinet on her boyfriend.
When police searched their apartment, officials discovered three cabinets with holes meant for screws to lock them closed. Investigators also reportedly discovered zip ties on the floor and drawings inside the cabinets.
Martinez was charged with child endangerment, unlawful restraint and intentionally injury to a child. Diaz was charged with child endangerment, unlawful restraint and assault by intentionally causing bodily injury by omission to a child.