Child abuse trial continues today in Glenwood Springs |

Child abuse trial continues today in Glenwood Springs

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Trial resumes today in Ninth District Court over charges that a young Rifle couple inflicted severe brain damage and other injuries on their infant child less than two months after he was born.

The couple, Jose and Adriana Chavez, have denied that they caused the injuries to their son, Alberto, who was born on Feb. 1, 2010. They were jailed on the charges but are free on bond.

Prosecutors have charged the couple with five felonies, alleging that some time between Feb. 2 and March 26, 2010, one or both of the parents somehow inflicted or permitted injuries to Alberto that resulted in cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), cerebral hemorrhaging, retinal hemorrhaging, fractured ribs and a fractured leg.

There were no witnesses to the infliction of the injuries, according to court testimony.

Jose, 19, works as a roofer for the European Roofing Design firm in Aspen, while Adriana, 20, was described in court documents as working for Comfort Dental in Glenwood Springs at the time of the alleged abuse.

Friends of the couple have backed them up, according to court documents, describing them as good parents who were devoted to their child.

Alberto, who was described in court as “a difficult baby” by prosecutor Matthew Barrett, was hospitalized on March 26, 2010, with a broken leg, fractured ribs, serious brain injuries and bleeding in his eyes, according to documents outlining an investigation by the Rifle Police Department.

According to an interview with the father, Alberto fell from a sofa onto his head that day at the home of a friend of Jose’s. Jose reportedly took the boy along on a visit to the friend’s house in Parachute, after Jose got off work early that day.

Jose reportedly also told an investigator that as he ran out of the house with the baby in his arms to drive to Grand River Hospital in Rifle, he neglected to properly support the baby’s head while running.

Adriana told investigators that she did not injure Alberto, although she reported that the child may have sustained a leg fracture while squirming in her arms during breast-feeding. She reported that incident took place on March 18, 2010.

According to the couple’s statements to police on March 26, the baby had trouble sleeping much of the time and both parents were feeling frustrated and fatigued.

Adriana allegedly had cautioned Jose more than once about “playing rough” with the baby, according to court documents, and the baby had shown signs of unexplained bruises on his face, as well as the broken ribs.

Friends described the couple as devoted and loving parents who, while frustrated, never showed signs of anger or violence toward Alberto.

A July 22, 2010, statement by a social services caseworker, Rochele Mettauer, predicted that “Alberto will spend the rest of his life significantly disabled due to the serious brain injury he sustained.”

The jury trial, which began nearly two weeks ago, is scheduled to continue today and tomorrow before Ninth District Judge Daniel Petre.

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