VALPARAISO | Valparaiso resident Elizabeth Lozano and neighbor Angela Terrell were charged Friday with beating and neglecting Lozano's 4-year-old son so badly the boy had to be transported to Indianapolis to undergo surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.
The women, who live at 701 McCord Road, each were charged with felony neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury.
Lozano, 24, was further charged with felony battery causing serious bodily injury, and Terrell, 43, was charged with a lesser count of felony battery to a child younger than 14.
The alleged abuse came to light Wednesday when a child advocate noticed extensive bruising on the boy's face and body during a court hearing in Lake County, according to charging information.
The boy was taken to Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus in Merrillville, where it was discovered he had bruising, blistering and multiple bruises on his face, back, arms, legs and buttocks. Police said the boy had a bleeding wound on his buttock and burns on his right arm.
Lozano and Terrell initially said the boy was wounded by falling down stairs at Terrell's residence while she was babysitting, police said. Lozano then admitted to spanking the boy with a wooden spoon but denied hurting him, police said.
Police said they learned Lozano also had been hitting the boy with a flyswatter and belt and had slapped him in the face with her hand.
Terrell told police she decided not to seek medical care for the boy after he fell down the stairs at her residence because she knew Lozano had "beaten (the boy) until he was a bloody mess" and did not want to get her in trouble.
Police said they learned the women also punished the boy by withholding food and had once punished him for urinating on Terrell's floor by treating him like a dog and forcing him to eat oatmeal from a bowl on the floor.
The women admit in series of recovered text messages that they had beaten the boy and deprived him of food, clothing and sleep, police said.
The boy was placed on a ventilator following his surgery and was still in the intensive care unit at the time charges were filed, police said.