Santa Rosa teen mom held over for trial for abuse of infant son

- A Santa Rosa woman charged with child abuse causing great bodily injury to her infant son was held over for trial after a hearing Friday morning in Sonoma County Superior Court.

Monserrat Salgado, 19, gave different explanations for the injuries the 10-week-old boy suffered on or around Sept. 6, Sonoma County sheriff's Detective Eric Haufler testified in Sonoma County Superior Court.

The boy was taken to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Rosa around 11:20 a.m. then transferred to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland. Pediatricians said the boy suffered a black eye, broken arm, fractured femurs in both legs and a brain injury from lack of oxygen, Haufler said.

Salgado initially said her 3-year-old daughter, who she claimed was aggressive to and jealous of her baby brother, pushed the boy off a bed while she was taking a shower, Haufler said.

Haufler said Salgado told him she heard a scream, got out of the shower and saw her daughter standing above the infant on the floor. When he told Salgado the boy's injuries could not have been caused by a fall, Salgado then said she twisted the baby's arms as she picked him up while changing his diaper, Haufler said.

Salgado also said she pressed the boys face close to her shoulder to calm him and also piled blankets around him in his bassinette, Haufler said.

Salgado offered different possibilities for the injuries each time she was told hospital staff determined the injuries were not accidental and her explanations were inadequate, Haufler said.

"She said she didn't try to kill him but did try to stop him from crying," Haufler said.

The baby's father, Elias Vera-Vega, said he was reluctant to testify Friday because of "someone in the courtroom."

He testified he had been pressured by news reporters who were asking him for a statement wherever he went.

Vera-Vega said he was watching a movie with Salgado's 3-year-old daughter after work on Sept. 5 when he heard the infant cry. He said he did not see Salgado hurt their infant son in the bedroom, and he was never concerned about how Salgado handled the baby.

"She was never aggressive," he said.

He said Salgado told him her daughter hurt the infant.

Vera-Vega said Salgado's daughter at times was like "a little tornado" and she becomes jealous when he holds his infant son.

Vera-Vega also testified he has seen Salgado's daughter jumping up and down on the bed while the infant is on it.

Judge Gary Medvigy ruled there was sufficient direct and circumstantial evidence to hold Salgado over for trial on three counts of child abuse causing great bodily injury.

Medvigy said Salgado's inconsistent statements about the injuries showed a consciousness of guilt.

Salgado will re-enter pleas to the charges on Oct. 15. 

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