Did state fail to investigate alleged abuse?

2013-11-03T18:30:00Z 2013-11-04T14:38:12Z Did state fail to investigate alleged abuse?Bob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
November 03, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | Paula Lozano said she tried to head off the abuse that landed her 4-year-old grandson in the hospital just more than a week ago to undergo surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.

The Hobart resident said she showed photographs of the boy with a blackened eye and bruised nose in June to employees at the Gary and Valparaiso offices of the Indiana Department of Child Services.

Lozano said she was told DSC could not help her.

"It just floored me," she said.

Local authorities stepped in Oct. 25 and charged the boy's mother, Elizabeth Lozano, 24, of Valparaiso, and her neighbor, Angela Terrell, 43, with battering and neglecting the boy after a child advocate in a Lake County court noticed the child had a black eye and bruising.

Paula Lozano said her son, Joseph Lozano Jr., the father of the injured boy, was told a few weeks earlier by a DCS official to stop having people report abuse involving the children.

"This should have never happened," Paula Lozano said.

DCS Communications Director James Wide said his office received several calls to the state child abuse hotline since January about this case, though he could not say whether they involved a specific child or the entire household.

While prevented by confidentiality requirements from discussing details of the case, Wide said all hotline calls are evaluated to determine if some form of assessment should be done. Assessments can result in such actions as seeking a removal order from the courts or pursuing services for the family.

Lozano said her son is prevented from having any contact with the boy and his other children with Elizabeth Lozano. He is not even being updated regularly on the injured boy's condition, she said. He is still married to Elizabeth Lozano, but was not living with her at the time of the abuse in question and has not been charged with an offense, she said.

Paula Lozano traveled to Indianapolis on Friday to voice her concerns to the governor's office about the way the case has been handled.

An official at the Porter County Juvenile Court declined to comment on the case.

Elizabeth Lozano, who is being held without bond, denied during her initial court hearing last week that she had abused her son.

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